Patchwork Man, by D.B. Martin (40:00)

IOD-PatchworkManToday we see that a story does not have to be exciting in order to captivate. It just has to be interesting.

What I gleaned about the story: Kenny Juss is all grown up and his youth of crime and isolation is long behind him. So far behind him that he is now about to be made a High Court Judge. But when he discovers papers in his recently deceased wife’s effects—papers that prove she knew all about his hidden past—everything comes unglued. Because she didn’t just know about it. She may have been planning to expose him.

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Kudos #1: Mesmerized

Details: It isn’t often that a story unfolds in a way that completely captivates me. It’s not especially my bag, but the voice intrigues me, and I can relate to the slightly wistful recollection of an grown man looking back on his rough and tumble youth.

Analysis: The protagonist is a highly placed lawyer, whose wife has just died, turning his life into something of a tornado. During all this, he agrees to defend a kid who seems much like his younger self—maybe too much. The story unfolds in two streams. In the first, adult Kenny goes through the process of taking on this case while still emotionally traumatized with his wife’s death. In the second, he revisits the part of his early life that he’d thought long buried but that has been reopened by his wife’s papers. Understandably, he’s having trouble concentrating, and his thoughts keep ping-ponging back and forth between whatever his wife was up to, the uncooperative kid he’s trying to defend, and his own secret past. This might sound like a lot to balance but the author does so skillfully, with the actions and revelations in each thought line naturally propelling him forward in the others.

It’s still too early to say what I think about the story, but I’m enjoying the writing, and sometimes that’s all I need. Definitely worth checking out.

Take the Pepsi Challenge: Want to know if my own writing measures up? Download one of these free short stories, in the format of your choice, and decide for yourself.

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About the author

Jefferson Smith is a Canadian fantasy author, as well as the founder, chief editor and resident proctologist of ImmerseOrDie. With a PhD in Computer Science and Creativity Systems compounded by a life spent exploring most art forms for fun and profit, he is underqualified in just about everything. That's why he writes.