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Lures: Careful What You Fish For by [DiFelice, John]
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Lures: Careful What You Fish For Kindle Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Length: 95 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

Review

DiFelice's (American Zeroes, 2016) debut short story collection offers up a complete world in nine offbeat tales.
     The book's opener, "Does the World Make Sense?" introduces readers to Ernie Pendleton and his wife, Dora, a couple who no longer have sex but who still navigate sexual jealousy every day. Dora's suspicions are exposed as baseless from the first few lines; it seems that there's a noisy spot in the basin where Ernie showers every morning that causes the trouble, "a piece of engineering feculence so poorly wrought and installed that it made a high-pitched gasp every time he stepped on a spot in the center." Dora thinks that the orgasmic sound must come from a woman he's with. One day Ernie comes back to the house with another woman "on him"--the gory, terrible result of a bomb blast in the subway, which spins the story toward a weird resolution. Another tale probes the bizarre connections among a husband, a wife, and a fertility specialist whom the husband nicknames "Dr. Sperm," who helps them conceive. A male character in "The Perils of Believing in Santa Claus" belittles his 9-year-old son for still believing in myths and learns a powerful lesson in faith from his wife. Although most stories are told from a male point of view, a few convincingly take up a woman's perspective--and in both cases, the women seem to know more than the men. In one sci-fi-tinged story, for example, a sister finally understands her brother's grief because she knows what her brother wanted to hear--something that their late father never said. The narrative tone throughout is smart and wary, as in this careful line from a funeral service: "The cantor sang 'Here I am Lord' with such genuine emotion that it nearly punctured the blanket of numbness covering the whole of my body"--nearly, but not quite, as the story is just beginning. The lyric poems that appear between the stories, however, seem unnecessary, and their intent is unclear.
     Insightful, imaginative fictions strengthened by a clear moral undertone.
- Kirkus Reviews



LURES, subtitled CAREFUL WHAT YOU FISH FOR, is aptly named. Each of the nine stories in John DiFelice's well-crafted collection features characters who are dissatisfied with their lives and take the risk of trying for something more. Sometimes the trying pays off. Sometimes it ends in greater disappointment, even tragedy. What unites the stories is DiFelice's great empathy for his characters--men and women, urban and rural, DiFelice understands that we are all united by our desires for what we may never have.

There is a sense of deep melancholy pervading LURES. Many of his striving characters are deeply lonely. They fail to make connections with the people they should be closest to or fail to find anyone to be close to at all. This might make LURES sound like a downer, but it isn't. The characters' loneliness is so relatable that it paradoxically makes the reader feel less alone. And there are moments of surprising connection that shine out like a sunbeam after a rainstorm.

Not only that, LURES can be very funny. One story in particular, "Stan Slade and the Case of the Killer Meme," is at once a hilarious send-up of noir tropes and an endearing love-letter to the city of Philadelphia. But even stories tackling more serious themes, such as "Ich Grolle Nicht," about a couple struggling to conceive, are told with a humorous voice.  The husband, visiting a fertility doctor for the first time, observes that "Upon his walls hang citations and framed magazine covers that praise his brilliance at joining seed to egg in such a way that it very often results in the birth of a human baby.  No alien DNA here, that would be cheating."

Only once did this tonal mix feel off to me. In the first story, "Does the World Make Sense?" a jealous wife's warning to her husband that he "better not come home with another woman" on him comes disturbingly true when a woman blows herself up next to him on a train. I thought the pun was a bit too much for such a scenario, but the mix of humor and pathos in the following stories was more delicately balanced.

In between the stories, DiFelice has written short poems that tease out the themes of his collection. The poems absolutely add to the heartfelt tone of the book, threading it into a unified reading experience and not just a grouping of separate narratives. Definitely pick up LURES this summer and examine what you might be secretly longing for.
~Olivia Rosane for IndieReader


We live in a divided world. The progress of our modern age has meant that a viewpoint - not race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion - is the new divisive force that pulls us apart at our collective seams. Populist politicians, technology, economic disparity, and social media soap boxes are the preferred points of self-segregated coffee shop discussion... IF, this is truly the case, then what Mr. DiFelice has offered us with 'LURES' - his collection of short stories - is perhaps the one redemptive quality that can bring our disparate society together: Humanity's touch of the Absurd.
   - Jeremy Chacon, Cofounder, Editor of Creative Content, Mark8Media


DiFelice is a very talented writer with a masterful command of dialogue and a knack for writing things you wish you could have written yourself.  For instance, "She had fallen in love with the way he loved her."  This short sentence carries in itself a depth of feeling worthy of a 500-page 19th century Russian novel.
   - Andrei Winograd, author of "Futilities - Day-To-Day Mysteries Explained" (Portuguese).

From the Back Cover

The lure of fame draws a meme detective to a hostile sports arena in Philadelphia. The chance to earn their father's love lures his children to an electronic necromancer. The lure of vengeance causes a man to invite his best friend to an ill-fated fishing trip. These are the stories in "Lures," a collection of short fiction and poems by John DiFelice.

Product details

  • File Size: 421 KB
  • Print Length: 95 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: June 14, 2017
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B071LBH93N
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #701,399 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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