A penny saved is ridiculous.

A penny saved is ridiculous.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Scars on the soul

While classifying this collection as part of the crime genre is probably accurate, Marcus Sakey's excellent Scar Tissue: Seven Stories of Love and Wounds is really a book of intense character studies that just happen to involve crimes. That's because the things that happen in this immersive book are fueled by the characters' haunted pasts, not so much the requirements of the genre.

I enjoyed the opening story the best, The Days When You Were Anything Else, which involves a father having to deal with a ransom demand for the return of his estranged daughter. The father's guilt and regrets regarding his past history with his daughter inform all his actions to rich and startling effect, leading to a gutsy, unpredictable, yet honest conclusion. But all the stories are very good: dark, emotionally complex, and satisfying.

I purchased this book when author J.A. Konrath promoted it on his blog, informing readers that not only was it a great collection of stories but that Mr. Sakey was seeing to it that major proceeds from the book would go to a worthy charity. So, the book didn't even need to be that good for me to feel positive about purchasing it. Of course, I was pleased to discover that it was indeed very good.

In addition to the seven stories here, there's an introduction at the outset by Mr. Konrath, individual introductions to each story by Mr. Sakey (which nicely illustrate the evolution of his writing career), and, at the close, a few brief previews of Mr. Sakey's novels. So, even with the inexpensive price, you get a decent amount of reading material here.

But, more importantly, it's good reading material. Give Marcus Sakey's haunted characters a chance to get under your skin. You won't regret it.

Scar Tissue: Seven Stories of Love and Wounds is available for $2.99 on Kindle, with the proceeds going toward the fight against pediatric cancer.  Amazon Prime members are also eligible to borrow the book for free.

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