Title: Love and Crime: Stories
Author: V.S. Kemanis
Genre: Short Stories/Psychological Suspense/Literary Fiction
Loves big and small, crimes forgiven or avenged. These are the themes that drive the eleven diverse stories in this new collection of psychological suspense from storyteller V.S. Kemanis.
Meet the husband and wife team Rosemary and Reuben, master chefs known to sprinkle a dash of magic into every dish. Lucille Steadman, a dazed retiree who can’t explain why she’s left her husband, only to discover, too late, the meaning of love and commitment in the most surprising place. Franklin DeWitt, an esteemed ballet critic who witnesses—or abets?—a bizarre criminal plot to topple a beautiful Soviet ballerina. Rosalyn Bleinstorter, a washed-up defense attorney whose stubborn belief in her own street savvy leads her unwittingly into a romantic and criminal association with an underworld figure.
These are just a few of the colorful characters you’ll get to know in these pages, where all is fair in love and crime. While the endings to these tales are not always sweet or predictable, and self-deception is rarely rewarded, the lessons come down hard and are well learned.
This collection includes stories originally published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, The William & Mary Review, Lynx Eye, and Iconoclast, and previously unpublished stories.
A collection of yes, Love and Crime stories! The author has the natural ability to bring the reader right into a story. This allows the book to be an easy read for the reader. There is a tendency to move back and forth from past to present and back. I personally found that a little hard to follow but some may truly enjoy that! The author has a gift for writing crime stories. The crime stories (#1 is the BEST in this book!) are the highlight and are the super part of the book. Fans of Hill Street Blues and Law and Order will love the crime Stories!
Now for the story by story thoughts:
Story 1 – Odd, disjointed – not terribly endearing and as a retired Chef I found the premise hard to believe. A further aside, I doubt ANYTHING can make capers taste good. 2.5/5
Story 2 – Unless a story is really gripping, flashback/forward/back * repeat * is disruptive to the flow. In the end, the story was hard to follow and concluded in an unsatisfactory way. 2.5/5
Story 3 (Conference) – HUNH???? I enjoyed the story but never understood it. 3.5/5
Story 4 (Searching for Ear Wax) – The main character is a bitter/jaded woman who simply failed at love. The Anti-Vaxxers in this story cry out for a serial killer to put them out of their misery and free the kid to Children’s Services. NOTE – any relationship that takes one’s interest away from their spouse is an AFFAIR whether there is sex or not. Had a superb Happy Ending! Having the child disappear and get away from the crazy Anti-Vaxxers is good no matter how it happens! 4/5
1 – Brilliant, evocative. Took the reader quickly into a new world and carries the reader along. Brilliant, the BEST story in the book. A must read! 5/5
2 – (Pure Kill) Fantastic, gritty, realistic, exciting/ a pure page turner!! 5/5
3 – (Day) 4/5 HATED the ending.
4 – (Collectors Find) Very hard to follow and super hard to like the character of Roz. 3/5
The Extra Stories
- Zephyr – 3/5 – meandered
Cactus Flowers – 3/5 – no point
Cat – 3/5 hard to follow
Epiblog – 3/5 Interesting but hard to follow
My Rating: 3.5 stars
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V.S. Kemanis grew up in the East Bay Area of California in a family with six amazing siblings and parents passionate about politics, social issues, theater and music. Mealtimes were often raucous, stimulating, intellectual and fun gatherings in a household full of family and interesting guests, musicians, actors, artists, professors and university students.
Ms. Kemanis holds a B.A. in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley, and a J.D. from the University of Colorado, School of Law, at Boulder. In her legal career, she has been a criminal prosecutor of street crime and organized crime for county and state agencies, argued criminal appeals for the prosecution and defense, conducted complex civil litigation, and worked as a court attorney for state appellate courts. She is also an accomplished dancer of classical ballet, modern jazz and contemporary styles and has performed, taught and choreographed in California, Colorado and New York.
Dozens of short stories by Ms. Kemanis have been published in noted literary journals and award-winning collections. Her three novels in the Dana Hargrove legal mystery series draw on her personal experience in criminal law, juggling the needs of family with a high-powered legal career. Ms. Kemanis is a member of the Mystery Writers of America.
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Reviewed by: Mr. N