Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Show And Tell

They belonged to Ella. Nobody else could see them. Her bag of secrets; her buttons. 

All she wanted was a friend. Someone she could trust, talk to and play with. She found Peter. And eventually he would ask about her buttons too. They all wanted to see them, her little secrets.

They will all disappear in the end.

Bag of Buttons by Mark Lumby is a short story about a disturbing young girl with serious psychological issues and then some. As sick as her fascination with the other children is, her interactions with Tom are somehow far more sinister. With each reveal of Ella's secrets, I became more fearful for anyone around her. I can't help but wonder what her parents are like. The ending left some loose ends, but when you travel into darkness, you can only see so far, for so long.

As always,

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Under Pressure

Bali. The Indonesian island for bargain bartering, friendly locals and good times. A holiday hotspot for tourists wanting to let go and indulge in the pleasures on offer. But when there are hundreds of thousands of tourists, there's money to be made. And when there's money to be made, there's the potential to make a fortune. Even if that fortune is built on crime. 

For one Australian traveler, becoming a mule while staying in Bali is worth the cash on offer. A few jobs transporting packages is easy enough. But when the packages and pay become increasingly larger, so do the risks. 

It's already too late for the mule. He decided his future when he agreed to the job. Now the only decision he has left to make is how bad his future will be.

Mule by S.A. Tawks begins with a young man struggling to get through airport security with drugs inside of him. Most of the story is told in long flashbacks, returning to present time every once in a while, as he waits to board his plane. The hook is instantaneous as readers travel along with his memories of drug dealing in Bali, in order to find out if he is successful in transporting the drugs without getting busted. The character remains unnamed throughout the story.

As the character justifies and defends his decision to get involved with Brad and his drug network, his inner struggles with morals, guilt and the loss of a friend in a similar situation are almost enough to elicit sympathy for the character and his ongoing predicament. Almost. The fact remains, the young Aussie chooses easy money, as well as indulging in heavy drinking, drug use and sex with strangers, when he knows damn well the consequences will catch up to him.

There is no backing out...the best he can hope for is minimizing the damage to his life, unless he meets his death by making the wrong choice.

Tawks does a great job of blending action and suspense for this crime drama, and captures the fear and danger involved in this underworld. If you enjoy stories such as Mules, I definitely recommend this novel as well.

As always,