Book review: Red, edited by Kris Goldsmith

Three of five stars

When editor Kris Goldsmith saw a red scarf abandoned in the road one day, she wondered what its story was. And, like any good editor at an independent press, she put that question to several of her authors. This collection of short stories is the result.

It’s a rather hit-and-miss collection, I think, but mostly hit. The first story, “Like Smoke” by L.G. Fitzgerald is the big miss, taking the most obvious path to the misplaced scarf. Interesting enough, but with an utterly predictable outcome. “Sober Lake” by Shauna O’Connor provides a darkly funny and startlingly different perspective on the making amends part of a twelve-step program. In “A Fear of Flying” by J. Allen Scott, a young man faces a difficult choice as the plane carrying him and his partner is about to crash. I liked this one a lot, possibly because I kept thinking “‘Nathan Burgoine could have written this!” “Trying Too Hard” by Rebecca Gale has the worst title but the most intriguing concept — when does one draw the line in acquiring knowledge? And finally in “Superhero” by Justin McLachlan, we meet a bartender who knows exactly when he will die, and therefore becomes a fearless crime fighter.

I enjoyed the afternoon spent reading this collection enough to re-read the stories I liked best several times over the next few days. Nice job, Boxfire Press. And thank you, Goodreads First Reads program, for the opportunity to read this book.

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