by Selena Kitt, contemporary (2008, reissue)
Phaze, $2.00, ISBN 978-1-59426-665-2
I have no idea how to review Selena Kitt's Christmas Stalking because I don't know what to say. One of the problems with the shorter length of published ebooks is that many short stories that lack that special "hook", let's just call it, to make it reading. That's not to say that the story is bad. It's just that... well, the story is so ordinary and common that I don't see the point of publishing it. The story is short, so that means there is a distinct lack of characterization due to the constraints of word count. So, what else is there in the story to make it worth investing my time and money into it? And if the plot is so skimpy and there is nothing to say about the characters because they're just there, what should I talk about in this review?
In Selena Kitt's Christmas Stalking, the story is simple. Ginny No-Name (at least, I don't recall her last name being mentioned anywhere in this story) is on the run, living like a homeless drifter because she is running away from her abusive father. She can afford along the way to donate money and all to poor kiddies because she's such a good person that way. Why survive when you can make a moral statement, right? At any rate, some goons show up to attack her and she starts screaming and screaming until our cop hero Nick Santos rescues her. He takes her in, sleeps with her, soothes her demons, and it's love.
I wonder how old Ginny is. I don't recall her age being mentioned, but eagds, she thinks like a very young teenaged girl, which really makes me cringe when I read about her very adult sexual antics with Nick. And Nick, oh I don't know what to say since he initiates sexual contact and I find that there is something very unsavory about a cop having an affair with an obviously desperate young woman. Ginny seems very young, judging from her speech pattern, her constant need for reassurances from Nick that she's doing something right, and her fear that Nick will die in the line of duty and leave her alone, which she can't bear to contemplate.
Perhaps if the story is longer and there is room for Ginny to calm down and put her fears to rest before she has sex and decide that she's in love, I may appreciate this story better. As it is, the story is simple: girl runs away from psycho daddy, girl does some good things to remind people why they have to love her, girl gets attacked, cop saves her, cop sleeps with her, cop becomes her new daddy, the end.
I know it's not easy to read a three-hundred paged book on an electronic device, which is why you don't see me complaining too much about the length of ebooks. Heck, I like reading short ebooks when I need a break while working on the computer. Christmas Stalking however is like a skeleton plot that could use more fleshing out before it is published. The idea is there, but the execution is just too half-baked for me. I won't mind reading this story if it comes among the pages of, say, Reader's Digest or any magazine that features short stories. But as a standalone single ebook, even at $2.48, Christmas Stalking is too threadbare in plot and characterization to be anything more than a very forgettable read; something to pass fifteen minutes or so of idle time when one really has nothing else to do.
Perhaps the author has to send this story to her publisher and the publisher has to put something out, I don't know. But another 100 pages could have done wonders for this book.
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