Sunday, June 16, 2013

Short Story Review: Rockets' Red Glare by Sue Ann Jaffarian (Holidays from Hell #4)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great next chapter for a family I've come to care for
Cons: None for me
The Bottom Line:
Bowen clan returns
For explosive BBQ
A great short story




Fireworks at the Bowen Family Fourth of July BBQ

In 2011, author Sue Ann Jaffarian started a short story series focusing on the Bowen family and their bad holidays.  Unfortunately, life got in the way, and these e-stories stopped.  But she always intended to give us the next chapter, and it has finally appeared.  Just in time for the Fourth of July, we get "Rockets' Red Glare," and it's another winner.

Zelda has been dating a new guy for a few weeks now, and she's decided that it is time for him to meet the rest of the clan.  So she is bring Clay to the annual family Fourth of July BBQ.  She's also invited her grandfather on her dad's side.  That could be awkward since her dad has vanished, leaving her mother without a word.

So she is bracing for fireworks.  However, when they start, they are not at all what she expected.  What will the damage of the latest holiday be?

If you are jumping in here, there's certainly enough background to set the scene for you.  After all, I didn't go back and read the first three short stories before I read this one.  However, I don't recommend it.  While the brief introductions were enough for me to remember what had happened before, you'll certainly miss out if you are meeting everyone here for the first time.

The story is only 34 pages, but it amazes me just how much story and character development we get in that space.  These people come to life, especially Zelda who serves as our narrator.  I found myself caring about the outcome and wondering just where the characters will go from here.

The earlier entries in the series had a comedic element to them that mixed with drama as the story progressed.  This one didn't reach the comedy of the earlier ones before the drama started, but that didn't bothered me at all.  I was pulled into the story and the pages flew by.

And did I mention I'm ready for the next bad holiday already?

I'm glad to revisit the Bowens and get the next chapter in their story.  Those who have already met them will be glad to gather round the BBQ for "Rockets' Red Glare."  And if you are new to the clan, crash one of their holiday parties and find out just how entertaining someone else's bad holidays can be.

NOTE: I was sent a copy of this e-short story in exchange for my honest review.

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