Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gone Bad by Julie Morrigan

A few years ago my husband's work took him to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to help with the building of the Four Season's Resort.  He lived in Jackson Hole for two years, coming home on the weekends when he could and on occasion I would make the drive his way. During one particular visit I presented him with a landscaping plan to complete the back and front yard (we were in a newer home and the work still needed to be done in the back and I decided to add some different landscaping to the front while we were at it).  I can name a thousand things that bug me about my yard, but the one thing that I'm always reminded of when people make comments about it is the alleged affair that came with it.

I had hired a friend of a friend who owned a landscaping company to do the work for us.  They worked during the day while I was at work and would leave shortly after I arrived home. They started the work in September right around the time the days were getting shorter and  the nights were arriving earlier. (Okay that sentence totally wasn't necessary, but I'm leaving it 'cause it totally sounds like me).

Anyway... the day before a big shipment of rocks were going to be delivered I came home from work to find none of the landscapers there. In fact, it was pretty obvious no one had been there at all that day. I thought it strange since I never received any calls about a problem, and I even started worrying when it was clear the rest of the watering system pipes weren't going to be completed before the next days rock delivery.

I was just getting ready to call my friend when the doorbell rang. It was Brad. You could tell by looking at him that there was a problem, but before I could even ask him what was wrong he started to tell me.

"My sister-in-law committed suicide today. I've been with the family and at the hospital making arrangements with them and trying to take care of my wife who is, as you can imagine, devastated. We had no idea anything was wrong with her, Sabrina. We're all in shock. I was wondering if you'd mind if I worked late into the night to complete the pipes. I brought a couple of outdoor lights, and I'm thinking that if you open all of the blinds and turn on the interior lighting I'll have enough light to complete the job tonight. I'll be back in a couple of days to move the rocks and get the boulders set."

Obviously I didn't care if he worked late. I even offered to help. And even if I had known my neighbors would be watching the clock and reporting back to my spouse... I still would have had him work late.  It wasn't until the phone rang early the next morning that I was informed of my misdeed.  Those of you that know me probably can imagine how well that went over.

And now you're probably wondering how this leads into my review of Gone Bad by Julie Morrigan, aren't you?  Well let me tell you. Gone Bad is a collection of 18 tales of crime ranging from little child killers, rapists, murderers, people making bad assumptions, and other people being cruel just because they can be.  The interesting thing about all of the stories is that they are told in such a way that you can actually imagine them happening to you, eh... scratch that part. What I'm trying to say is that the stories are written with an incredible sense of realism. The descriptions. The conversations. You literally see the scenes unfold before you, and the endings for some of the stories come fast and they hit hard. 

The story Watching was the most powerful for me because I've been a victim of people watching me from the sidelines and making assumptions about my activities.  Watching is a story about a father who has never really cared for his son-in-law. In fact, his dislike for him is so strong he hires people to follow him around and snap photos.  True, his son-in-law has a standing appointment every Tuesday and Thursday inside a house with a female, but that doesn't mean anything inappropriate is going on, does it? Does it?  I guess you'll have to read the story and find out.

I also enjoyed Searching, the story about a search for a missing girl. Short and shocking is the only way I can describe this one.  From the beginning of the story you think you know the truth, but can't possibly believe it to be the truth when the story is over.  I had such a sense of disbelief when I finished this story that I actually read it over again.  I read it again tonight before writing this review and I'm still in awe.

Devlin, Me and Cherry B is a story that will put the brakes on any idea you might be having about starting an affair with... well, with any one. Really. Just when you start to think there is going to be a happy ending, everything gets knocked off balance and your left screaming at your Kindle begging Ange to get out before it's too late. "Walk away from the eye-candy with the blue and chocolate brown eyes, Ange. Walk. Away."  Yeah, this story... made me scared.

Gone Bad by Julie Morrigan is an amazing collection of short stories that you should definitely add to your Kindle.

Gone Bad is available on the Kindle and Smashwords for $0.99.

Julie Morrigan lives by the seaside in the north east of England. You can find her blogging at http://gonebadonlinestories.blogspot.com/


Ian Ayris said...

'Gone Bad' is definitely one of the best short story crime/noir collections out there at the moment. And Julie Morrigan is right up their with the best writers around.

Great review, Sabrina. Really enjoyed it :)

Paul D. Brazill said...

Good on yer. Watching was nominated for a Spinetingler Award.

Elizabeth said...

Nice review. This one's up on my TBR in the very near future. Looking forward to it.

Peter Farris said...

Cool review. I wasn't familiar with Morrigan's work until now.

Your introductory story is pretty telling, too. Amazing how something innocent enough (like allowing a landscaper in a jam to stay late and work while the hubby's away) can be so misconstrued.

Stuff like that can spark great fiction, though. :)

McDroll said...

Sounds like a great collection. I'd also say lose the neighbours.....hope you slashed their tyres....mwahahaha

Josh Stallings said...

Great review! I am a huge fan of 'Gone Bad'. And you nailed what I love about it. It is the reality she invest into her stories that make them so creepy. Congrats to you both.

Julie Lewthwaite said...

Thanks so much for the kind words, folks, and an especial thanks to Sabrina for such a smashing review. Made my day!

Julie Morrigan (Honest - whatever it says up top ;p)