Book reviews

Predator or Prey by J. New

Predator or PreyPredator or Prey by J. New
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Predator or Prey is a collection of short stories and flash fiction by British writer J. New. Each entry is a tale of mystery and suspense with a twist in the tail. ‘A Bolt from the Blue’ is a swift but shocking view of domestic violence. ‘App for Life’ also focuses on domestic abuse, but not as normally portrayed. ‘A Kind Gesture’ is a tale of someone who deserves it getting their just desserts. ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’ is a modern-day take on Faust. ‘A Good Day’ focuses on a school bully’s determined victim. ‘A Little Peace and Quiet’ is the tale of a single mother on the edge. ‘A Shiny New Bike’ looks at family dynamics following an accident. ‘A Sting in the Tale’ enters the Catholic confessional. ‘A Blessing in Disguise’ follows a child’s abduction. ‘(Wo)man’s Best Friend’ is another twisted tale of domestic abuse.

Each of the stories in Predator or Prey are well written, but many are flash fiction (extremely quick short stories), which can sometimes hamper their effectiveness. ‘A Kind Gesture’ is disturbing but its brevity leaves some unexplored avenues that would have benefitted from a longer story (the protagonist is a doctor?) ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’ and ‘A Blessing in Disguise’ are similarly hampered and didn’t really work for me. The best of J. New’s tales are the swift but shockingly effective ‘A Little Peace and Quiet’, the heartbreakingly clever ‘A Shiny New Bike’ and the slightly lengthier and creepy ‘A Sting in the Tale’. Overall the collection is interesting and I would read more from her. For Readers’ Favorite.

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