The Unfortunate Tale of Little Mary Jenkins

First Lines: The tiny kitchen was deserted.  Drops of chilled condensation clung desperately to the outside of a half-empty glass of soda sitting next to an old, avocado green telephone.  With the exception of the tick-tock of the plastic clock hanging on the wall over the old couch, a heavy silence draped the room.

This is another book I got from the author for review (if you haven’t noticed a trend yet, you will).  I’ve been almost collecting these books for a few months before I realized how behind I was on them.  So for the next couple of weeks, these will be the only books I read.

In this very short novella, Sam and his friends are looking for a good time.  After stumbling upon a secluded spot, Sam begins telling them a ghost story, the story of Little Mary Jenkins.

Really, this thing is super short.  Like, 30 pages.  You could knock this out in under an hour.

So this is the author’s very first published work, and I feel kinda bad about having to review only 30 pages of his work.  I mean, most other authors get what, about 200 pages before you have to review their work?  It just feels a little too judgmental to me, but I must carry on.  (my wayward son…) (bad joke.  Never mind.)

With the book being so short, I felt that the characterization was really rushed.  I wanted more “show-not-tell”.  Like, at one point one character was thinking something like, “There goes [XXX], the annoying one in the group.”  Which is fine, but I would have really liked to have been able to see that for myself.

And I also didn’t find the ghost story to be all that scary…perhaps because I read scary stuff all the time.  It just didn’t really bother me, but I know other reviewers who did find it scary.  To each his own.

What I did like was the way the characters spoke up during the ghost story.  That felt really real to me, more so than if someone were to tell the story uninterrupted.  How often does that honestly happen?  Not with my friends or family, I can tell you that.  So I liked that.

Overall, it’s a very quick, spooky read and a good start for this author.  Not bad if you’re one of those people who really wants to freak themselves out at midnight on a dark and rainy night.  (That’s not gonna be me.)

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