I received another review on my novel. For those interested, go to http://feitelberg.net/aglaril/book1.html. I've posted a copy of the review there.
In exchange, the reviewer, Brian Hartman, wanted me to review some of his work. I agreed. I began with a story called Last Call. It is available free on Smashwords.
It is an unusual story set in the modern world. It takes place in a bar where the main character Dave is celebrating his birthday with Lue. One of the things that makes this story unusual is I don't know who Lue is exactly. Is she sister, ex-girlfriend, cousin, co-worker? I don't know and the story does not answer this question.
Dave and Lue spend time talking about life and philosophy and things that have no bearing on the story. I presumed this conversation is mostly for character development. The problem here is that the development does not come where I need it to following the story. For example, Dave is in a wheelchair. I figure this out about halfway through and it changes everything about him because I suddenly realize how much like one handicapped friend of mine he is. This would have been better earlier.
Dave meets a woman who is at the bar and they talk a little. She talks about suicide. Dave tries to talk her out of it. By the end of the story, Dave has to leave but the fate of the woman is unclear. I was not sure if she would go through with it or not.
My assumption is that she did and that it is in the newspaper just as the woman said it would be. But this leaves me with more questions than it answers. Who is this woman? Was she a prominent figure? If she was then why didn't Dave recognize her? If not, why is it prominently placed in the newspaper?
So ultimately, the story is not satisfying because so many questions remain. The story is a good start toward something. Brian just needs to resolve a few items, revise, and try again.