Tag Archives: Short Story Collection

Wisdom From Kammbia Story Review 10: The Cookout by Jacqueline Turner Banks

A stepfather-stepdaughter relationship can be challenging, especially when the stepdaughter is coming into her own. The Cookout by Jacqueline Turner Banks, a short story published in Shades of Black: Crime & Mystery Stories by African-American Writers, makes a convincing case for that kind of relationship.

The story opens with Stacey Barron’s mother, Frances, leaving on a trip for a few days to take care of relatives.  Stacey does not want her mother to leave her with him.  Frances tries to reassure her daughter everything will be fine and to get along with Phillip. Stacey reluctantly agrees to her mother’s wishes but warns her about episode he had with a gun recently.  Frances overlooks that episode and shares a story she thought would ease her daughter’s mind about her stepfather.

After a brief and tense conversation, Stacey asks Phillip if he would barbeque for their dinner.  Phillip agrees and sees it as an opportunity to connect with his stepdaughter. However, the two argue because she forgot to unthaw the meat and marinate it.  The argument escalates and Phillip ends up dead from a gunshot wound.

Does Stacey kill her stepfather?  Or did the police kill him because he had a gun in his possession?  Banks leaves that part of open-ended and when her mother returns from the trip she believes in her heart who is responsible for her husband’s death.

The Cookout packs quite a punch for a short story under ten pages.  Banks’ direct and sharp prose creates the perfect tension for this whodunit tale.  I had not heard of this author before and reading a short story from this type of collection has brought a new author to my attention.  Fans for crime stories should definitely read the story and others from this groundbreaking anthology.

Wisdom From Kammbia Story Review 9: The Storyteller by Rafik Schami

“Good storytellers are like good wine—the older the better!” The aforementioned sentence came from the last paragraph of The Storyteller by Rafik Schami.  This short story was taken from his novel, Damascus Nights and reprinted in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror: Seventh Annual Collection published in September 1994. I’ve been reading from various anthologies… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Story Review 5: Galapago by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

  I have stated recently that I’m reading more short stories as a part of my reading life. As much as I love reading novels, I’m appreciating the short story on its own terms. Last year, I read an excellent short story collection, Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine. My favorite story of the entire… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Story Review 4: L’Alchimista by N.K. Jemisin

I have read a lot more short stories in the past year.  I have always considered short stories the stepchildren of contemporary fiction.  Novels are the alpha and omega for most contemporary fiction (literary & genre) readers.  Novellas (short novels between 20k-50k words) have become popular in the social media age.  But the average reader… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 91: Sabrina and Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

I love book cover art.  I was scrolling through my Goodreads page recently and noticed one of my friends add Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine to their TBR list.  The beautiful cover got my attention, and I bought book the next day. Sabrina & Corina is the debut book of Kali Fajardo-Anstine and has… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 87: How Long ‘Til Black Future Month by N.K. Jemisin

I have a question for readers.  Has there been an author or authors you have tried repeatedly to read? N.K. Jemisin has been one of those authors for me. Jemisin has gained recognition in the science fiction and fantasy genre over the past several years with groundbreaking works like the Broken Earth and Dreamblood series.… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 1: The Ivory and the Horn by Charles de Lint

I ended my 2018 reading year with a short story collection by Charles de Lint. I enjoyed Dreams Underfoot and began my 2019 reading year with the second de Lint short story collection set in Newford. The Ivory and the Horn is a fifteen tale collection that continues to explore the wonderful characters inhabiting the… Continue Reading