This short story collection opens with the longest story “The Breighton Emeralds.”  The emeralds are back and Tony Brayton isn’t happy about that at all. He is convinced the family legend is true and the stones are cursed. He also thought he had finally managed to get rid of them. The men of the family have been trying to get rid of the things for over two hundred years.  Where the emeralds have been in the past a male Breighton died.  Despite efforts at changing his name and protecting himself because he is the last male descendent Tony is at risk from the curse.


A legacy is also present in “The Cavanaugh Cellar.” At one time the Cavanaugh mansion was something hidden away from the prying eyes of those less fortunate. Thanks to the loss of parkland and the new interstate these days anyone driving by can see it. The mansion also stands as living proof of how far the family has slid financially. The fact that the last descendants, a brother and his sister, vanished on Halloween isn’t helping matters. For the sheriff, who has lived there all his life except for combat tours into Middle East, and his deputy, Charlie Edwards, the case is a puzzle.


Chet Murphy was the last to jump onboard the helicopter in “A Dog’s Life.” The star detective of the Homicide Department is well known for his heroic actions even to a relative newcomer to the police force like Frank Glass. The Wanatahatchee River is enraged and the flood waters are destroying everything. Chet and Frank work to save those they can while Chet holds forth on various topics.


The final of the four stories in this small book is “The Stealth Kangaroo.” After 27 novels, writer Lillian Masters simply can’t write another word.  Her grandson Jamie wants a story about a Kangaroo for his Halloween present and she has nothing to give him. With everything that has gone on the last few months it isn’t surprising she is having trouble. Maybe the stuffed Kangaroo she has sitting next to her will supply some much needed inspiration.


The four stories in this small collection play with the thin line between reality and the supernatural. Those readers who need every single thing explained to the last detail may have an issue with some of these stories as the endings are often open to reader interpretation. Sometimes what happens to the main character is a good thing. At other times it is not.  In all the cases it will take months, if not years, before an explanation of any type is uncovered in this collection of good stories. Quartet: Four Slightly Twisted Tales is not only a quick and good read, but one that showcases a talented author working in a variety in styles, subject matter, and situations where everything is truly slightly twisted.



Quartet: Four Slightly Twisted Tales

Janis Susan May

Safkhet Books

May 2012

Kindle E-book (estimated print length 36 pages)




Material was picked up for review purposes during the author’s recent freebie promotion. The book was read on my laptop via the free “Kindle for PC” program available from Amazon.



Kevin R. Tipple ©2012

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