Stark realities of lives during Christmas- Review of Hark- A Christmas collection

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Book Name            :    Hark—A Cristmas Collection
Author                    :   Justin Bog
Number of Pages   :   134
Publishing Year     :   2014
Edition                    :   Kindle
Publisher                :   Booktrope

Rating : 3.5


A beautifully written collection of short stories from
critically acclaimed Pacific Northwest writer Justin Bog, Hark explores the
range of emotions surrounding the holidays. From melancholy to madness, loss and
despair to hope and forgiveness, these six tales shimmer with feelings, some
we’d rather stuff away, that Christmas can evoke. 
Within Hark—A Christmas Collection, a retired police officer
faces another Christmas Eve while bitter recollections haunt his
every turn, a lonely woman plans to seduce Santa Claus one Christmas Eve,
a widow grows anxious as she searches for a present she misplaced and
intended to send to her ungrateful sister, a woman can’t keep the images
of her past—these ghosts —from haunting the life she chooses to live, a
young gentleman and his partner join a Christmas party in Sun Valley,
Idaho and are taught a lesson most un-holidaylike, and, finally, a
couple portrays Mr. & Mrs. Claus in their small island town holiday
festivities and face a grim diagnosis together. Set in colorful locations
around the United States, from Anacortes, Washington, to Ann
Arbor, Michigan, and Sun Valley, Idaho, each tale focuses on people who
struggle to make good choices, learn lessons, and maybe even find
peace during the holiday season. 

A bonus story, Poseidon Eyes, from the upcoming Sandcastle
and Other Stories—The Complete Edition, is included.

My Review

While I read the title, I was all set to have a fun, light read. So I started the book lazily. I was expecting a stout bubbly Santa with funny fairy tales. But once the stories unveiled, I realized that the book is not a Santa but a six fingered monster.  Instead of tender tales I saw stark realities. Like the fingers in our hand each story varies in style, length, depth and purpose.Real lives of people in trouble, pain, happiness, anger, all the same. Since it is a short story collection, I am not going into the step by step analysis citing plots, characters, highlights and drawbacks. I am of the opinion that while reviewing short stories and poems, we should not give a detailed review of every stories/poems. 

The first story Hark touches the strings of heart which would drip blood. The second story Seducing Santa makes us smile, frown, wince, pout and laugh. The third finger Bracelet is an intricately weaved the story. Fourth one Everyone wants me to, brought me to tears. Snow globe, the fifth story is an easy read. Sixth and the last story, excites us with an unexpected twist, which reminded me of the proverb keep the best to the last. Author has made use of his experiences in the right channel. Writing style is good. The shift of third person narrative and first person narrative in Everyone Wants me to is a fresh treatment of literature. The stories surely lingers to our mind even days after reading. 

Some stories are stretched unnecessarily,which drops the pace of the story and reading. The cover image did not reflect the stories.

One Liner

A six fingered monster capable of alluring and haunting the readers.


About the author

Sandcastle and Other Stories: The Complete Edition was just published by Booktrope. In its old version, it was a Finalist for the Ohioana Book Awards 2014! It was also named Best Suspense Anthology of 2013 by Suspense Magazine.

Justin Bog is a member of the ITW: International Thriller Writers

Justin Bog lives in the Pacific Northwest on Fidalgo Island. He is an author of dark, psychological tales and an Editor for Gravity, one of Booktrope’s publishing imprints. Justin Bog was Pop Culture Correspondent and Editor for In Classic Style, an eMagazine. Bog loves to cook and play the part of treat master to two long coat German shepherds, Zippy and Kipling, and two barn cats, Ajax The Gray and Eartha Kitt’n.

Look for Speak the Word, an ebook bundle of the two new dark tales from Sandcastle and Other Stories: The Complete Edition.

Thank you for giving short stories a chance.

Reviewed for Sage’s Blog Tour

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book as a complimentary copy from the Author in exchange for a honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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