Tuesday, June 4, 2013

For Love's Sake

"For Love's Sake", written by O'Neil de Noux, was published in the latest issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.  I'm not sure on the word count, but I believe it is a novelette.  I really enjoyed this story.  There was a huge sale on subscriptions to AHMM, so I subscribed for a year, even though my expectations were low.  After reading only two stories is the first issue that I recieved, I found that I was wrong.  AHMM is a high-quality magazine; and "For Love's Sake" is a high-quality story.

The situation in "For Love's Sake" is fairly simple for a mystery: one man was supposedly killed by a strike to the jaw in a fisticuffs duel.  There are about a half-dozen important characters to discover over the course of the story.  Assuming anything about them is unwise.  The writer knew most people would assume things anyway (which to my knowledge is a pretty basic trope of the genre).  None of the characters are dry.  A few are fairly static, although they didn't really need to be incredibly dynamic.  The protagonist was a cool guy that most readers would probably want to "hang out" with, a suitable way to establish a protagonist-reader bond.

I'm not going to mention the plot very much.  Too many spoilers would ooze out and nobody wants that.  It was a good plot, I'll leave it at that.

The setting in "For Love's Sake" is shown very early on and done with the fewest words needed.  That's my preference in realistic fiction.  If it isn't a sprawling epic fantasy city I don't need the details on clothing and what flavor ice cream they're selling out of at the apothecary (if they sold ice cream in apothecaries).

This story gets a solid 94%.  It could have been more exciting, sure, but it read well and kept me more-or-less enthralled.  You can get the issue on a Magster app for $3.99.  Check it out.

(Edit: this story is now available on its own on Amazon here.)

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