Want a good read that you can dip in and out of without feeling you’ve got to reread a dozen pages to remember all the back story? Time to turn to some short stories. Here are 27 (that’s how many I counted) that amuse, involve, disappoint, infuriate, sadden, uplift, and just brighten your day with their neat twist or sting in the tail. Disappoint? There were some where I felt I missed the point but others where the empathy you felt for the character led to a genuine disappointment for him.
Plenty of tales of the biter bit, plenty of cop and legal tales with a difference. Some clever scenarios leading to unusual conclusions. My favourites were, in reading order and leaving many contenders out: 30 Seconds of Hell; Double Sting; Preheat the Microwave, The Tightrope and Under the Apple Tree.
Jerry Guerino weaves a really good tale in just a few pages. The characters are well observed and most leap from the page with the briefest description. A minor gripe: it seemed that too many Tonys and Joeys were in the early stories, different people jumping from one story into the next. This was perhaps due to the limitations of Kindle formatting: often stories seemed to run into each other with merely a title separating paragraphs, and no spaces. When a page intervened it was much better, but ordering the stories alphabetically did not help.
But a very enjoyable read and I look forward to more of Mr Guarino’s work.
Cafe Stories by Gerard Guarino