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GREG GRENDLE'S SUBURBAN EXPERIMENTS

Mostly Aimless

By Thedude3445, author of Rainbow Destructor

Oct 23, 2018: This story is about the life of an unemployed man living in the suburbs in England, laying about and hanging out with friends. And . . . that’s pretty much it.

There isn’t any overarching plot or much characterization or too many happenings. It’s just the protagonist (apparently the author himself, making this all nonfiction) making some observations and trying to live a worry-free life. Sometimes that’s nice, and a few of the chapters have stuck with me in the time since I read this story. I wouldn’t say it’s much worth reading through it all, though. The narrator is certainly characterized through his observations, but everyone around him is so thin that it’s hard to get a real sense of what they are like, and for a story that largely consists of meeting up with mates, that’s a big flaw.

At only fifteen short chapters, though, it’s a pretty quick read, so if you like slice-of-life observational pondering, or want a time capsule to turn-of-the-decade life in England, you might want to check this out.

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THE LONDON ARCHAEOLOGIST

Beautiful London through a (badly) shattered mirror.

By Patrick Rochefort, member

Aug 7, 2016: The Good: The prose in the story can at times be genuinely beautiful, with some very literary and poetic turns of phrase. Quite a few sentences caught my attention with the care of their crafting and tone. The photographs of London that accompany the fiction are often striking, and I like the idea of having a contemporary fiction piece be accompanied by photographs.

The Bad: That’s about all there is good to say about it. The plot is disjointed and entirely incoherent. Sentences run on, and on, and . . . wow, do they ever run on. Prose is passive and uninteresting, and at no point do I, as a reader, feel compelled to move on to the next line or paragraph or chapter except as an obligation to this review.

The Ugly: The site is difficult to navigate and really doesn’t offer any convenient or meaningful way of flowing from chapter to chapter.

1.5 stars out of 5.

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LISTENING TO THE OTHER SIDE

Excellent Storytelling… and Successfully Creepy

By Scott Scherr, author of Don't Feed The Dark

Jan 20, 2016: Listening to the Other Side begins behind the scenes at a live show with psychic medium, James Erik, as he shows us from his perspective what it’s like to ‘bamboozle’ a sold-out crowd into believing that he is communing with their dead loved ones.

From the very first chapter, the author grabs and entices this reader, with an exceptional first-person narrative, and makes me feel like I was right there at the show as he educates me on how ‘hot and cold readings’ are conducted, bringing to life the illusion, and how easy it is for James to successfully ‘con’ the crowd into believing anything he wants them to believe.

As this tale progresses, we learn more about the making of Mr. Erik, from his abusive lifestyle as a celebrity, to his strained relationship with his wife, to his volatile temper, to the tragic death of his parents, all adding up to a fascinating backstory which builds very nicely towards an ironic turn of events later in the story.

For me, the overall strength and driving force of this tale is how believable the author has made this character who struggles with the elements of his past that have made him who is today, while establishing a strong foundation for some interesting future chapters.

I also found the author’s introduction of supernatural elements combined with reality well-balanced and grounded in the sense that this story never loses its believability by completely leaping off the cliff into the fanciful. That’s what makes Listening to the Other Side such a chilling read at times.

My only criticism of this work, along with some minor typos, are some predictable story elements introduced later on that are forgivable because the author uses the elements in some very creative and unpredictable ways, lending to some great storytelling.

All in all, I highly recommend Listening to the Other Side for anyone who enjoys a great building supernatural thriller. This is definitely a page-turner and at times this story will successfully creep you out, leaving you wondering if you truly are alone when it appears that you should be . . . or if someone or something else is standing right next to you.

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