I’m a big fan of short fiction. (I think I’ve said that before. Actually, I think I’ve said that about a million times before.) There’s a balancing act that an author has to perform. If someone tries to put too much in the story, they end up with an unsatisfying attempt at fiction that just won’t work in the short format. On the other hand, few writers can pack power into writing that’s overly sparse—maybe only Hemmingway really mastered it completely. So, the balancing act is finding a way to get the reader to receive the impact of a robust and well-developed story without writing a novel to do it. A good short story leaves a great deal unsaid, but next to nothing unspoken.
Carrie Green’s short story collection, Roses Are Red, does that well, very well, and remarkably well. I say this because I quite enjoyed the book. I think the last story is by far the best, and the science fiction story isn't near to the quality of the other two. Nonetheless, all three stories are good.
In the first story, A Long Distance Relationship, she explores the impact of guilt on a murderer. Here is evil completely unromanticized (I don’t care what spellcheck says, I’m counting “unromanticized” as a word.) The man imagines his victim communicating on the phone with him, and Green writes it well.
My favorite of the stories is Cash Only. More of a psychological drama than a horror, it’s remarkable in a number of ways. The bounty hunter character she’s created is callous and unrelenting. Still, he’s in the right, and you never quite disagree with him. Then, his thoughts drift to more human (read that humane) ideals, and you think you’ve read him wrong. That’s okay, because you like his change of heart. Then, Green hits you right between the eyes.
Do yourself a favor and pick this collection up. It’s just a buck on Amazon, and it’s worth the spend.