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A Hitch In Twilight: 20 Tales of Warped Imagination Paperback – July 3, 2009
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About the Author
Vic Fortezza was born in Brooklyn in 1950 to Sicilian immigrants. He has had 37 short stories published in small press magazines worldwide. He contributes articles to buzzle.com. He has two novels in print, Close to the Edge, and Adjustments. You may spot him on the streets of New York, hawking his work. Website: http://vicfortezza.homestead.com/
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According to my reckoning, "Twilight" contains four semi-distinct genres of fiction: dystopian works set in the future ("Network 2015," "Pristine," and "Button"); works about non-religious supernatural occurrences ("Dream Father," "His Destiny" and "Nowak's Dreams"); non-religious or not overtly religious morality tales ("Threes," "Run of Luck," "The Dead Pool," "Pigs," and "Unplayed Melodies"); and overtly religious tales of supernatural occurrences ("The Man in the Box," "Defining Moment," "Home," "Mother," "The Power of Prayer," "The Sad Song," "Strain," "Super G" and "The Witching Hour"). As I said, these as semi-distinct genres; some of these stories ("Mother" and "Nowak's Dreams," for example) might fit into a couple of them at the same time.
The best aspect of these stories is the range of characters featured in them. There are homeless drifters, boxers, actors, junkies, hired killers, old ladies, subway riders, soldiers, bettors, mountain climbers, traders, priests, construction workers, murderers, and musicians. One gets the feeling that the author isn't trying to be diverse in his choice of characters; he isn't trying to make a point. He has simply met and known a variety of people in his life, and so it seems natural that his characters are as varied as his acquaintances have been.
One of the weaknesses of these stories is that they are so short and, as a result, the characters are not well developed as individual people. In many ways, these are just the kernels or skeletons of 20 short stories: we get the dialogue and the main action, but we are not given much description of the settings and periods of time in which they take place. While this might be good for a reader who only has enough time to read on the subway train to and from work, or to read a few minutes before going to sleep, this brevity is bad for the reader who truly wants to enjoy the diversity of the characters.
Another weakness is the simplicity of some of the plot "twists" or, rather, the fact that there's a clear pattern to these twists. Thus, as the reader gets further into the book, he or she is able to guess (or not be surprised by) what's going to happen. And that pattern, as you might well imagine from the large number of religious tales of supernatural occurrences, is "Evil to the one who would do it." In four of the 20 tales ("Network 2015," "Button," "His Destiny" and "Pigs,") someone who intends to murder someone else is murdered by his intended victim before he can strike. In another four tales ("The Man in the Box," "Mother," "The Dead Pool" and "Triple Watching Hour"), people who have done bad things are punished, usually by a horrible death. Do the math: 40 percent of the book is devoted to a single plot device (or, if you wish, a single moral lesson). It was too much for me.
There are other "twists": criminals who go unpunished; good guys who go to heaven; good guys who should be praised and valued, but who aren't; and good guys (or innocents) whose wrongful deaths are avenged. Personally speaking, my favorites - the ones that should be developed into substantial works of fiction - are the ones that are less preachy; the ones in which the protagonist comes out of his or her experiences a better person. That is to say, not an angel, but a mortal still working on getting things right.
Vic, a young writer has a great future and all his fans want more. So, when may we look for the next novel, Vic? Applause to the writer and applause to the publisher who was intuitive enough to publish this exciting collecting.
Order his book. You'll be looking to order more of his work.
Salvatore Buttaci, author of Flashing My Shorts