Monday, April 30, 2012

Earl Staggs Reviews: "Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Presents: Flush Fiction"

Please welcome back award winning author Earl Staggs to Kevin's Corner. Today he reviews the new "Flush Fiction" anthology.
Compiled by the editors of the Bathroom Reader’s Institute 
Bathroom Reader’s Press (a division of Portable Press and imprint of Baker & Taylor)
April 3, 2012
ISBN #978-1-60710-427-8
288 Pages

There’s something for everyone in this anthology of short-short or “Flash,” fiction. There’s plenty of variation in writing style and genre, and there’s a delicious amount of irony and humor. A volume like this is perfect for when you have ten or fifteen minutes of reading time.  You’re at the doctor’s office waiting for your appointment, for example, or it’s bed time and you feel like reading something, but you know you won’t stay awake long enough to get invested in a novel. You might even keep it handy in the bathroom.

The first story is “What Is the Difference Between Optometrists and Ophthalmologists?” by Eric Cline.  Albert Pope is an optometrist who suffers ridicule and humiliation at the hands of two opthalmologists who believe their profession is leagues above that of a lowly optometrist.  The two bullying doctors need a dose of their own medicine.

In “The Taste of Failure” by Andrew S. Williams, a man has spent millions of dollars and years of development in his quest to create the ultimate in culinary achievement. Success or failure comes down to the moment of truth: a taste test.

A movie actress in “Prince Charming” by Christina Delia, doesn’t even blink when the old organ grinder tells her the monkey she wants to buy is radioactive.  She has fallen in love with the cute little animal and must have him. It doesn’t even bother her when the monkey begins to glow and then to grow bigger and bigger.

My favorite story turned out to be “The Loom of Doom Galls Mainly in the Tomb” by Barry Ergang. The Sleuth Extraordinaire is “a gaunt hawk-faced man with no official status but possessed of a preternatural faculty for observation and deduction.” He brings to mind another pipe-smoking sleuth of the deer stalker hat variety, and is asked to assist in a perplexing murder case. It seems the body of Lady Vera Muckinfutch was discovered in a textile manufacturing factory, a few feet away from one of the looms. All the windows and doors were locked from the inside and no evidence of any kind was found in what appears to be an unsolvable case.

I’ve enjoyed Barry Ergang’s short fiction before, and this one did not disappoint. In fact, it further solidified his well-earned reputation as the “guru of groaners.”

I won’t say I loved every story in this volume and you may not either. That’s to be expected when this many stories are grouped together. With 88 stories to enjoy, however, everyone will find a number of their own favorites.

Reviewed by Earl Staggs @ April. 2012
Repeat Derringer Award winning author Earl Staggs has seen many of his short stories published in magazines and anthologies. His novel MEMORY OF A MURDER earned a long list of Five Star reviews. He served as Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Magazine and as President of the Short Mystery Fiction Society. His column “Write Tight” appears in the online magazine Apollo’s Lyre. He is also a contributing blog member of Murderous Musings and Make Mine Mystery and is a frequent speaker at conferences and writers groups.  Email:  Website:


Morgan Mandel said...

Sounds like a bunch of fun reads!

Love the title also, although I don't partake in reading books in that room of the house.

I do remember when I worked and I'd be in the elevator and guys would get on with their magazines and get off on the men's room floor. That always cracked me up.

Morgan Mandel

Jenny Milchman said...

What an interesting concept for a book! I so admire writers who can write short. Thanks for the review, Earl.

Bobbi A. Chukran, Author said...

That has got to be the BEST name for a character I've heard in a long time. Dang! Can't wait to get my hands on this little jewel of a book. Thanks for the review, Kevin and Earl! bobbi c.