I’ve become extremely fond of the short story as a medium. Life is too busy, yet I enjoy a good read, so an enticing short story is a most satisfying treat. Being a fan of author, Elizabeth Horton-Newton—her two novels“The View from the Sixth Floor” and “Riddle” having provided hours of pleasure—I confidently chose her ‘Red Queen Check’ from the short story anthology, Crooked Tales. Glad I did.
The sheer glee in the author’s writing radiated from every paragraph. This doesn’t mean this is a cheerful, trivial read; in fact it is at times gritty. However, there is little doubt she wished for the reader to enjoy the delicious comeuppance she had in-store for the miserable sociopath (or, maybe psychopath) at the stories core. But, it is the recipe of the revenge fashioned that is most satisfying.
From the opening line, Horton-Newton teases the reader with sensual heat as she introduces the femme fatale. By the third paragraph we are repulsed by him, a contemptuous and possessive blowhard with deadly desires. And so, in the best tradition of a fine short story the stage is set for a diabolical plot driven by an avenging heart.
Yet, despite the obvious pleasure in her writing there is little doubt that the author had earnest intent. Elizabeth Horton-Newton’s message is clear: there is little use in society for those that abuse—no matter their power or position.
I applaud the writer’s craft exhibited by Horton-Newton; her ability to score such rich characters within such a satisfying story arc—and all this, with only 4,000 words used! No wonder I now find short stories so appealing…and hope for more from the artful Elizabeth Horton-Newton.