He's always on the move. He settles in one place for a bit, pulls his con, and moves on. He never expected to find himself trapped in one town...
This story has the flavor of a Shirley Jackson story. Mr. Thompson's short story is just as captivating and horrifying as Ms. Jackson's work. She wrote "The Lottery" which was about a small town, and so i Mr. Thompson's setting.
When the main character moved to Harlton, he used the name Peter Marlow. He'd left his past behind again, had enough money to survive for a while, and he liked the quiet little town that hid in the hills. He was sure he was safe there; he was wrong.
I really enjoyed the "old days" flavor of this story; the author depicted it perfectly. Mr. Thompson also did an excellent job of taking a man who thought he was fooling all the locals and turning the tables on him. Without the main character even realizing, he was slowly being manipulated into a murder. Since this is an eighteen page story, that makes Mr. Thompson's writing very effective. He spares no detail or description that is unnecessary, but he sends shivers up and down your spine as you and Peter Marlow both realize that the local citizens had planned even further ahead than he had.
This is the story of a bad marriage, a bad man, abuse and rape, and the poor woman who married him. Mr. Marlow's safe little town has teeth.
I had no idea exactly where this story was going as I read along. The author had hold of my mind and enjoyed messing with it. I thought "they couldn't be."; "he wouldn't!"; "why did that do that to him?" and I was still surprised by the ending. This may be a short writing piece but it's an excellent story. Get yourself a copy and see if you can anticipate the ending. I bet not.
Originally posted at LAS Romance Reviews