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Monday 3 October 2016

'Shades of Crime: Dark and Light. Collected Short Stories by Barbara Fagan Speake

Kindle edition
Published by B. F. Speake,
6 May 2016

The stories here certainly agree with what's on the tin!  They vary - some are serious, some lighthearted; some plumb the depths of human depravity particularly in the domestic situation while others look at revenge or at coincidence.  A particular group of stories are flash fiction - stories of 99 words excluding the title.  

Relationships are at the heart of most of these tales, between mother and son, husband and wife, adult friends, children.  The stories grip your interest and they read very well as a very mixed series of views on life experiences such as aging, and making new friends.  You can empathise with many of the characters while deploring the violence of others.  Stylistically there are some lovely stings in the tail when the griever turns into the attacker or the accidental death becomes suspicious.  Some stories are prompted by newsworthy events.  The 99 word tales are a different reading experience - with so little space every word must count towards the story's success.

I particularly liked the nice coincidence of Random Acts, the bittersweet quality of Following Her, Some Days Stay with You Forever - the author's own experience and the Flash Fictions Oh Mum! My Son and Dire Consequences.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
Barbara has written 5 previous crime novels, one standalone and 4 concerning detective Annie McPherson in Connecticut Sent from my iPad
Barbara Fagan Speake was born and brought up in Connecticut. She has written 3 crime novels so far.  The first, Secrets Only Sleep, is a standalone mystery.  The second is this book and the third, Programmed to Kill, develops Annie’s adventures in the USA further

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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