Monday, 31 August 2015

Book Review: Smoke & Mirrors by Tom Benson

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Smoke & Mirrors is the second book I have read by this author, the first being another collection of tales, Coming Around. With this collection, author Tom Benson has excelled himself once again, but arguably this book is better than his first read in my view.

Here's why: Each story, twelve in all, are completely different. One never knows what is going to be in the next story. And you will be recovering from the events of the previous story, as each tale ends with a twist.

Although the books can be read out of sequence, I read them in order, and given the high quality on offer here, I was in no mood to rush through the book. I wanted to savour each one.

That's not to say every story is killer, but there are some absolutely wondrous tales here that make me think Tom Benson is going to be a very well known author one day. 

Here are my favourites:
  • Down to Earth
  • Photographic Memory
  • Mary had a little gun....
  • Smoke & Mirrors
  • A Killer in the Mist
But the above are just my personal preference. Down to Earth was so good, I read it, read it again - read it THREE times before still wondering how the author came up with such an amazing tale. This stood head and shoulders above the others for me, but here's the key thing - the whole collection is of a very high standard, and there is no filler here. If each were to be expanded into a novella or in some cases, a full length novel, it could totally work.

That's the power of the author. The stories are the star, because you can't really get to know the characters. There isn't that much time. But that is okay, because the character depth is not that important here. It is the quality of the story, and each will have something to offer everyone.

In this sense, the collection defies true classification. But I expect anyone would enjoy Smoke & Mirrors.

I would like to make reference to the formatting of the book. This is a simply beautifully looking product and looks superb on my iPad mini. So extra points to the author for delivering not only a high quality collection of stories, but also a first class product that readers can enjoy.