short fiction

Review of ‘The Afterlife of Abdul’

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What happens when you die? Abdul, a young Londoner, is rushing on his motorbike over rain-soaked streets to meet his girlfriend, when a car appears in front of him, and he’s unable to avoid the collision. Jenny, a six-year-old girl, is in the backseat of the car. She and Abdul die in the crash. Although they’ve never met before, their souls connect when Azrael, the Angel of Death, comes to collect them.

The Afterlife of Abdul by Ayse Hafiza is a short story that explores the unknown realm of what happens after death. An interesting tale that bridges the gap between living and dying in a sympathetic way; a profound exploration of existence, and an entertaining read.

I give it four stars.

Review of ‘Sucker Punched’

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Sucker Punched by James Scott Bell is both pleasing and disappointing at one and the same time. Bell’s short tale of Jimmy Gallagher, an Irish pugilist in L.A., and his bulldog Steve, is a delight to read. It’s funny – I mean, really funny – to follow Gallagher and Steve as he decides to get his shirt cleaned at J. Wong’s laundry, plays Sir Galahad when Wong is bullied by a German boxer with a glass jaw, gets him arrested as a vagrant, and then beaten senseless by the cops, and if that’s not enough, finds himself kidnapped by a Chinese gang that insists he must engage in a ‘fight to the death.’

Witty dialogue and a gritty setting – probably a part L.A. you’d want to avoid – just sucks you right in. Then, darn it, Bell disappointed me by ending the story. There I was wanting to know what trouble Jimmy would get into next, and ‘bingo!’ the story was over. I guess, though, I can forgive the author this minor disappointment, because he promises more. Well, he danged well better deliver on that promise – I’ll be waiting.

I’m giving this book five stars on account – on account of, I’m anxious to see the next one.