⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Five stars to author Nannette Kreitzman for her book: Grim Secrets: Tales of Murder, Manipulation, and Loss!
Find Grim Secrets here:
Readers Get Ready for a Broad Range of Emotions – I’ve not sought out many books of short stories in the past, but I heard so many good things about Grim Secrets: Tales of Murder, Manipulation, and Loss by Nannette Kreitzman, so I ordered the ebook. I’m very glad that I did! I hope I can do the author – and her stories – justice in this review while avoiding spoilers.
Nannette Kreitzman is a master of taking the reader through a broad range of feelings in such a short amount of time. In fact, I’ve read so few short stories because I don’t usually have much of an emotional connection to them. Reading Grim Secrets taught me that there ARE exceptions to this belief. The author not only led me to experiences of fear, sadness, disbelief, guilt, anger, desire, and hope, she also skillfully surprised me with endings and outcomes I could not have imagined.
The book contains five short stories: Discovering Me, Willow’s Secret, When A Good Man Dies, Fire and Ice, and When the Third Sun Rises.
Of the first three, for me Willow’s Secret is the standout. The author explores the reality faced and the choices made by women in a dystopian tale. It’s difficult to think about a world in which staying alive and making it through the day is the best one can hope for when powerless. Hard choices must be made, and afterward, the consequences of those choices are forever a part of one’s soul. There are elements of guilt and confusion over one’s feelings about those who keep others captive. And all this is experienced in “the afterward.” There’s a marvelous twist following the arrival of a stranger that I didn’t expect. Sometimes fate intertwines lives in the most remarkable of ways. And maybe, just maybe, there are true “wins” even in the darkest of days.
The story When a Good Man Dies broke my heart! Oh, I was so sad for Sarah who lost her “good man.” The way she processed her grief throughout the arc of the story is heart-wrenching but fascinating. The “conversation” she carries on with Steven after his death is poignant, but you can see her healing progressing through the words she types. I certainly shed a few tears during this story. It’s hard to watch someone grieve. But there is a bright possibility at the end of the story. There is hope – and a decision to be made.
I read When the Third Sun Rises and Fire and Ice back-to-back. When the Third Sun Rises was – for me – an unexpected gem. The author provides a delightful selection of genres in Grim Secrets, and I was surprised to find a bit of sci-fi at the end. However, Kreitzman blends fantasy into this one as well, sending a goddess (or a witch?) to a planet suffering under the weight of war. Main character Brigid walks battlefields, and in this story, finds a lone survivor in Orphikin. The dynamics that play out between the two as Brigid endeavors to heal his wounds are compelling, and a lasting impression is made on both characters. A changed mind and a new life wrap up this tale nicely.
I thought Willow’s Secret would remain my favorite, but Fire and Ice blew my mind.
Fire and Ice was so carefully crafted, and the tension so meticulously built, I could not anticipate how the relationship between Theona and Will would play out. I’m reminded of the expression “boiling the frog” – if you put a frog in a pot of hot water, it will jump out and live. But if the frog is put in tepid water and the pot is slowly heated, the frog is clueless about what is happening and will die.
As the “writing on the wall” became apparent in this story, I was shocked. Some monsters look like a dream come true – until the dream turns into a nightmare. Fire and Ice completely unsettled me. I was a little shell-shocked as I finished reading. I think this one is going to stick with me for a long time.
Discovering Me is the creepy tale in this book. After reading it, you might look at the average, everyday people around you and wonder which one is the psychopath! Fans of scary stories and horror will like this one.
A huge applause to Nannette Kreitzman for teaching me that short stories can make a powerful impact on a reader. I’m excited to explore this author’s body of work and highly recommend that you do the same! Five stars to Grim Secrets!