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Monday 16 April 2012

The Dead Dog and Other Tales of Tragedy and Triumph by M. J. Winn


I’m not a great fan of short stories, though I have recently read and enjoyed a number of novellas.  Because of that, I thought I would remain open-minded to the shorter-still story and give this collection a go.

This medley was quite a motley crew.  Each story was very different, which kept me page-clicking – I wondered what the next would be about, and I was never disappointed.  Each story was fresh and diverse, and unlike a favourite singer or band whose style is distinct and recognisable, the author puts quite a different stamp on each tale.

My favourite story was ‘Lured’ – an edge of your seat, tense, mini-mini-thriller, set in the world of diving.  My least favourite was The Dead Dog – the tale that gives its name to the title of the book.  It was no less entertaining, I should hasten to add, but the death of a domestic animal (whether it’s a cat, dog, or horse) always upsets me, and if I have to grade these stories in order of preference this would have to go to the bottom of the list.  Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable short about a woman scorned.

The other four stories have the same chalk and cheese diversity.  Two are a little sad, pathetic even, one is tale of ‘seeing-the-light’ and new hope, the third the story of a wrong that finally finds justice.

M J Winn has certainly put together a pleasing and original collection, and I will no doubt consider collections or anthologies in the future.  More importantly, I would be very keen to read a full-length novel by this creative writer.  

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