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Review by Sheri White

70 pages
£4.00 plus p+p
2011
Available from www.calumkerr.co.uk/pp014.shtml


In November of 2010 Calum Kerr participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). When it was over, he decided to carry on with the enforced writing schedule and write 31 flash-fiction pieces during the month of January.  31 is the result. 

The stories range from the mundane to the bizarre, from sad to funny.  Several of the tales packed quite a punch at the end. Even though all the stories are short, some extremely short, they are satisfying to read. 

A man suffering from writer's block takes action to overcome it in a most unusual and self-destructive way in "The Spark of Inspiration".  In another tale about writers, "The Manifesto", authors are controlled by law in a chilling look at what could happen if words were taken over by the government.

"The Abbey" is a love story, beautiful and heartbreaking.  The attention to detail in this story is amazing; you get lost in the telling.  Another lovely story is "Liquid Gold", which is also rich in detail, filled with longing and hope.

A few of the stories are playfully silly such as "As Plain As" and "Who Nose", both tales about noses albeit different storylines.  Another body part is used as a subject in "Ears that Hear", a bizarre piece that leaves you scratching your head.

"Alone" is a sad and chilling story of a man who just wanted a little solitude - and unfortunately got what he wished for.  "Reaching Out" will touch your heart, as will "Suddenly Dad".  "The Sky is My Silver Screen" will haunt you, especially after you read the inspiration for the story.

There are a few twisted tales in this collection; "Remission" explores what happens if you're told you're going to die - then don't. "Bringing the End" follows a man who is trying to convince his lover he is having an affair so he can go back on the prowl. And a woman fears the worst about her boyfriend after she hasn't heard from him in a while.  She goes to his home to check on him, only to be assaulted by "The Smell".

31 is a neat idea for a collection, and Calum Kerr has done a wonderful job implementing that idea.  Hopefully he will try the experiment again; I'd love to read more of his stories.

~


Sheri White writes, reads and reviews horror books and stories.  She lives in beautiful Frederick County, MD with her husband, three daughters, two dogs and a black cat (of course).  She is addicted to Facebook and can be found there at http://facebook.com/sheriw1965