Book Review: Defenestration by Matthew W. McFarland

***I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review***

Defenestration

Noun

the act of throwing a thing, or especially a person out of a window

All it takes is one random deviation from the run of things to send a life spiraling out of control; An underachiever from the retail sector with a degree in geography and a taste for younger women. An attractive pharmacist with addiction issues. An enigmatic taxi driver with a penchant for theology. All three are brought together when Adam is thrown from the twelfth storey of an apartment complex in mysterious circumstances. As he falls towards almost certain death, he contemplates his fate, killer whales, flying cats, and the untapped potential of the human mind.

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I loved this contemporary novella. It was written in Adam’s first person point-of-view, and switched into third person when showing how other characters fit the puzzle. The author did a brilliant job with characterization; every character was given a backstory, a personality, and they shined in whatever scene they were in.  Most importantly, the author did a great job of setting up the reveal of who could have possibly shoved Adam out of the window!

After he was pushed from the window, Adam met Gabriel and Michael. They helped him piece together the mystery of what had happened that night at the party. I really enjoyed reading about the anti-heroes of the story. Life had dealt them a terrible hand. By their own fault or bad luck?  You’ll have to read the story to find out.

Reading this novella reminded me of a Judd Apatow movie. I could picture Seth Rogen and James Franco as starring roles. The sarcasm really made me laugh.

My favorite lines: 1) When a week went by without any contact, she knew his laziness had overcome his libido. 2) “As I was falling, I looked back up, and there were two faces. We found one, so who was the other?”

I REOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

Book Review: The Liar and Other Stories By Matthew W. McFarland

***I received a free copy in exchange for a book review***

‘The Liar, and other stories’ is the latest collection of short stories from acclaimed Northern Irish author Matthew W. McFarland.

In ‘The Liar’, a sharply dressed man enters the foyer of a corporate bank, and walks back out with a fortune:

“In the past twenty-four hours, I have convinced various people that I am a fireman, that I make my own shoes, that I am a qualified pilot, that my middle name is Wenceslas, and that I have an inoperable brain tumour. Only one of these things is true.”

In ‘Making Headlines’ a young starlet is brutally slain in the ornamental gardens of a country estate, as a high-class fundraiser is in full swing. Only her killer can shed light on the murder.

“My wife of close to twenty years is slowly poisoning me, of this I am certain”. In ‘Toxic Love’, a family falls apart as suspicions abound, in a chilling tale of mistrust and lies.

In ‘Ripples’, a young girl flees from the police, hiding a dark secret. An old man with a strange air about him reaches out to help her – but can she trust this complete stranger?

In ‘The Savant’, a construction worker narrowly escapes death in a tragic accident which takes the lives of his two brothers. He awakens in a hospital bed to the strains of music resounding in his ears, and the discovery of an unbelievable talent.

In ‘The Hospital’, every parent’s worst nightmare whirls around the children’s ward, as a young boy with an unknown malady undergoes a multitude of medical tests.

Six stories to enthral, stories which will linger in the mind of the reader long after they are finished.

TheLiar_Cover_051513I loved this book with 6 short stories. I respect the author’s writing style because even though these were only short stories, he managed to describe things in great detail where I cared for his characters and got a clear grasp on plot–the beginning, middle, and ending were interesting. I also liked how Matthew W. McFarland managed to bring a psychological element to every story. They make you think as well as entertain you.

The Liar–This suspenseful story had Paul meeting his grandfather at a bank. My favorite line: “Soundproofing might have been a great idea when you were having your way with that long line of pretty secretaries, but I’m sure you’re regretting it now.” Paul reminded me of Neal Caffrey since he was a con artist. It was a nice twist of why he lied about his last name being Wenceslas.

Hospital–Sam, who was 4, had back aches. The doctors tried to convince his parent that it was a serious ordeal, even though they ran tests and couldn’t find the diagnosis. Were the doctors on to something? Or just an overexaggeration?

Making Headlines–This was one of my favorites. It opened up in a disturbing way by describing a girl’s dead body. The gruesome details stayed in my mind throughout the story, sending chills down my spine. Kathy, a local celebrity, was murdered. It was cool getting inside the killer’s head, especially since it was written in first person point-of-view. My favorite lines: 1) I killed her because I could. Because I liked the irony of turning her life into a real life murder mystery. 2)“You’ll get your headlines,” I said. “I’m sure of it.”

The Savant–The author did a great job with setting. Hector was a construction worker; he had 2 brothers. My favorite line: “No one had ever called Hector Gutierrez smart.” Riding in a truck with his brothers, the truck ended up crashing. Who survived? You’ll have to read to find out.

Ripples–This was one of my favorites. Anne and an old man, Stanley, meet on a train. He was a retired cop who studied her body language to figure out that she had killed someone. So did he…I loved when she explained her motivation.

Toxic Love–This was also one of my favorites. My favorite line: “He has stolen my youth, so I am stealing his old age.” The story was told through the husband’s first person point-of-view, then the wife’s first person point-of-view, and finally the first point-of-view of their son. The husband thought his wife was poisoning him. But he continued to drink his coffee and eat his meals from her every day. Why wasn’t he strong enough to leave her? Why not fight back? Did he have a death wish? I liked the set-up–that it kinda seemed like maybe he was being paranoid. This caused a surprising shock when the wife admitted that’s exactly what she was doing–no remorse at all! And the son–did he have his mom evil genes? You’ll have to read to find out.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

For more information on the author or book:

  • Twitter:  @mcfarlandwriter
  • Email:  matthew_mcfarland@outlook.com

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Fifty/Fifty and Other Stories By Matthew W. McFarland

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Fifty/Fifty and Other Stories is a collection of eleven outstanding short stories by Northern Irish author Matthew W. McFarland.

In ‘Fifty/Fifty,’ a policeman is called out to an attempted suicide on the iconic Forth Rail Bridge. His previous experience with ‘jumpers’ has led to one death and one life saved–his current record is fifty/fifty, but all that is about to change.

In ‘Defenestration,’ a man is thrown from the twelfth storey of a building in mysterious circumstances. As he falls towards almost certain death, he contemplates his fate, killer whales, flying cats, and the untapped potential of the human mind.

In ‘The Burning Bar,’ a man enters a burning building to rescue the love of his life, and becomes trapped, as the whole place collapses around him. Will he manage to escape before it is too late?

‘What Have You Done?’ deals with the legacy of the conflict in Northern Ireland, as a civil servant comes face to face with an ex-terrorist, leading him to discover how the previous generation coped with living through the worst of the Troubles.

These, and seven other stories, touching on sport, fatherhood, arachnophobia, faith, and cannibalism, make up an exciting collection of short fiction which will leave readers wanting more.

I enjoyed this book with 11 short stories. It was cool that some of his characters were shy (I can relate). The author has a degree in Psychology, and I can tell that he understands the inner-workings of the mind. Some of the stories had the concept of playing with the character’s head. My favorite type of stories are the ones that forces you to think and reflect; some of these definitely did that for me.

“The Burning Bar”–What is a musician’s greatest love? Joe ran into a building, burning in flames, to risk his life for his love. With the way it was narrated, I assumed it was his wife or girlfriend. I liked the twist of the love reveal.

“Defenestration”–My favorite line: “It’s funny sometimes the things that go through your head.” A fight happened at a crowded party, so a guy stood outside on the balcony. I enjoyed his narration because he was very analytical. It was cool the way he tried his hand in dream interpretation, and he wondered if he could survive the fall as though he’d be lucky like a cat.

“Lansdowne Road”–This was action-packed, covering a play by play rugby game. It was a victory for Ireland.

“Christmas with the Kids”–This was one of my favorites. I laughed so hard at the humorous situation Jacob was in. He got stuck babysitting someone else’s kids. The author was great with description, so I could picture the scenario vividly in my head. Those kids were a trip!

“What Have You Done?”–My favorite line: “He didn’t care what my response was; he just wanted to voice his opinions.” This story opened up with suspense–a guy attended a presentation with ex-convicts in the audience. One of them was creepy and stalkerish. Later, the story allows the character to reflect on how that ex-convict’s crime affected his and his sister’s lives as children, as well as his parents.

“Saints and Streetlights”–My favorite line: “I stood there, reeling from the surreal nature of the conversation and the abruptness with which it came to an end.” After attending a wedding, the character gets into a taxi where the driver talks about religion, reminiscing about a place he had visited.

“Wee Tiny Spiders”–This story was about creepy crawlers invading a person’s home. They were obsessed with spiders. The descriptions were vivid that the hairs on my skin raised; I kept thinking a spider would crawl on me LOL. Towards the end, the character started sounding crazy, to the point I thought they were schizo.

“The Bicycle”–This was a cute and sweet story. A man’s bicycle hangs up on the garage wall until he decides to ride with Sam, who’s only 4. The man reminisces about how he saved up for his very first bike and of the trips he went on. I thought it was cute, paralleling how Sam’s rides go.

“The Seventeenth Door”–This was one of my favorites. Charlotte works for the Census. She has to knock on an old, sweet lady’s door because she never filled out the form. Let me tell  ya, the lady had me fooled as a reader. I loved the twist of when Charlotte entered the home, she was in immediate danger. What happened to her was truly gross. I loved the creepiness of the story–the scariest ones are the stories that can happen in real life. In real life, you can run into crazy people!

“Plastic Golf”–The main character studied golf since childhood. He is was very good with his technique, then as a teen, he lost interest of the game. In college and adulthood, he started playing again in an attempt to bond with his dad.

“Fifty/Fifty”–This story was one of my favorites. A man gets a dispatch for an attempted suicide on the bridge. Heavy traffic that day. He reminisces about his record, 50/50. In the past, one person he saved; the other one actually jumped. The entire time I worried about the choice the pregnant woman would make. The baby’s daddy wanted nothing to do with her or the baby, and she was afraid to face everything alone. I loved the drama aspect of it all.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

For more information on the book or author:

  • Author Page @ Amazon and Goodreads
  • Twitter @ mcfarlandwriter
  • Email:  matthew_mcfarland(AT)outlook(DOT)com

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby