My debut book review focuses on Scorpion Tales: Short stories with a sting in the tale by SD Johnson.
This book is a short read, coming in at just 51 pages, and contains ten short stories within it. Two of the stories are based upon actual historical events or figures, while the other eight are purely fictional.
First, let’s get the mechanics out of the way. There are a couple of mild typographical errors in this book. In today’s world of self publishing, this is not at all unusual but if you’re a real old school stickler, you may be bothered. Personally, it wasn’t a distraction for me.
Now, onto the substance. The short stories in Scorpion Tales vary in both genre and time period. They all feature a twist ending and a couple even share the same characters on an alternate timeline, which I found delightful.
My favorites involved a young woman who becomes enthralled with a local musician, a socially awkward boy who goes about getting attention the wrong way, a battered woman’s journey to freedom, and a kind lady who gives too much of herself to others.
As a reader who is drawn mostly to horror, I found some of the twists a bit tame, but that is likely due to my own desensitization. Others still managed to give me the kick in the gut I was hoping for. Overall, the characters were engaging, the stories were intriguing, and the endings were clever. I certainly would read a couple of these stories adapted into their own novels.
4/5 would recommend for anyone who enjoys a short read and an unexpected ending (or ten).