The following is a review of the first story in the upcoming Shades And Shadows Paranormal Anthology, to be released Halloween Day, 2013 from Xchyler Publishing. There are nine short stories focused on the paranormal, as well as a forward by the multi-talented Ben Hansen of SyFy Channel's Fact or Faked. The first story in the anthology is titled Music Man, by Eric White.
The story, Music Man, centers around a decade's old mystery and one man's obsession to make things right. The narrator paints for us a picture of an almost idyllic childhood memory, a memory we know cannot end well. White masterfully transports us to an age of children where adventures consume their thoughts and actions.
The story, however, is interrupted by details relived in the narrator's tortured mind. He sets up the scene, then slowly introduces plot points that change a child's world of wonder to a nightmare where betrayal, and evil dwell. White takes the most vulnerable character and makes him the victim.
Without disclosing too much of the story, when you think it will end, it continues and doubles down on its strange reality. With half the story consumed I could not envision the ending, which left me considering the future of the characters.
The narration is choppy as it jumps from present day to the narrator's memory of events, almost as if we can feel the storyteller's angst in his retelling. I found this very effective as it helped set the tone of the story.
It drew me in and made my mind expand with possibilities. It's one reason I love short stories. It's the first story in the anthology. I can't wait to read the rest. Well done, Eric!
* Photo used without permission from Eric's Facebook Site: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=391937140906764&set=pb.105288346238313.-2207520000.1380412597.&type=3&theater