Curl up and enter the eclectic world of S. R. Mallery, where sad meets bizarre and deception meets humor; where history meets revenge and magic meets gothic. Whether it’s 500 words or 5,000, these TALES TO COUNT ON, which include a battered women’s shelter, childhood memories, Venetian love, magic photographs, PTDS fallout, sisters’ tricks, WWII spies, the French Revolution, evil vaudevillians, and celebrity woes, will remind you that in the end, nothing is ever what it seems.
MY 5-STAR REVIEW OF TALES TO COUNT ON by S. R. Mallery
“Nothing is ever what it seems” is the byline for S. R. Mallery’s new book “Tales To Count On.” It is a collection of stories that might also be called tales on the rocks with a twist. Some of the twists are surprising, others are poignant, and still others are humorous. In a novel approach Ms. Mallery specifies the word count at the beginning of each chapter. The chapters are progressively longer and thus the story development is more involved. It’s as if she invites the reader to dip their toe in the water first then as they become acclimatized, persuades them to venture out into deeper water.
And the water does get deep. And at times quite chilly. The urge to drop below the surface and see what’s swimming around down there is almost irresistible. Almost. And that is where Ms. Mallery does her best work, making us wonder what’s really lurking down there, daring us to find out.
The first few stories are quite short but they each pack a sting. One of the longer stories entitled Traffic Jam interweaves the personal dilemmas of several different characters caught in one of those traffic jams where the highway turns into a parking lot prison. No movement, no way to get out of it. Among those trapped in it are a young boy who desperately needs to go to the bathroom, an executive who is going to miss an important board meeting, and a disillusioned limo driver. While traffic doesn’t move, events in each of their individual lives certainly do and make for compelling storytelling.
One of the stories, “Pillow Chat,” is truly epic in nature. It begins at the birth of our nation in 1776 and continues through several pivotal periods in American history, ending in 2013 with surprising twists all the way. For example, we see a side of Abraham Lincoln that is seldom written about but demonstrates his open-mindedness regarding a matter of “little” importance, but certainly significant to those involved.
“Tales To Count On” area collection of short stories can easily be read in a single sitting – or standing if your waiting in line for whatever reason. As always, S. R. Mallery is a beguiling storyteller and letting yourself fall under her spell while she works her magic is a very enjoyable experience. I’ve done it before and look forward to doing it again. Highly recommended.
S.R. Mallery has been labeled nothing short of ‘eclectic’. She has been a singer, a calligrapher, a quilt designer, and an ESL teacher.
As a writer, History is her focus and is woven into her stories with a delicate thread. When people talk about the news of the day, or listen to music, Sarah’s imagination likens the story to a similar kind of news in the past and is conjuring up scenes between characters she has yet to meet.
What readers are saying about S. R. Mallery’s books:
“A master storyteller has been at work, and this marvelous piece of writing is the result.” ~ Thomas Baker Thomas on Unexpected Gifts.
“Honestly, I haven’t read a book this unique in quite some time.” ~ John H. Byk on Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads
“Mallery is an extremely talented writer. Her style lures the reader; you actually become a part of her tapestry of expression.” ~ Melinda Hines on Tales to Count On.
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