Short stories which link to other books seems to be a fairly new phenomenon but one I have to admit I was a bit suspicious of – surely the book itself should be enough? Do we really need another part to complete our reading experience?
In the interest of science I have put three to the test!
First up is Case 48: The Kidnapping of Isaiah Rae by Emma Kavanagh which was published shortly before the author’s latest novel The Missing Hours – this short is currently free and runs to 35 pages. Case 48 features Selena and Ed Cole, from The Missing Hours .
When Elliot, the son of an electronics corporation CEO, is kidnapped and held for ransom, Selena and Ed are brought in to act as liasons. To make sure things run smoothly. To make sure Elliot comes home.
But when Selena discovers that Elliot’s biological mother was recently released from prison, things soon become more complicated, and more deadly, than they can possibly imagine … Amazon
Although this features two of the characters from the novel this is an entirely standalone story, and a good one at that. This short story, would give the reader insight into the work of those who work for the insurance company in kidnap and ransom demands. If like me you had no idea this industry existed, this story may just be the introduction you need to see if you’d enjoy a full length novel in this area.
My second short is The Intruder at Number 40 by Louise Candlish, an author I was delighted to discover from the book this is linked to; The Sudden Departure of the Frasers. This short comes in at 33 pages and is currently 49p and features Amber Fraser of the title…
He sold 40 Lime Park Road months ago. So why is he still visiting the house?
Ryan Steer is an estate agent in property hotspot Lime Park, gatekeeper to a growing population of well-heeled families and affluent couples attracted by the area’s promise of a tranquil suburban lifestyle. To be honest, the houses sell themselves, and when Ryan hands over the keys to his vendors he usually wishes them well and loses their faces in the crowd. Until Jeremy and Amber Fraser, that is. For there is something about Mrs Fraser that gets under his skin, something that causes illicit thoughts, thoughts that lead to actions – secret, forbidden ones.
But if ever a woman was worth the risk, it is Amber Fraser. Amazon
The Intruder at Number 40 was released earlier this year in the run up to the authors fantastic tale The Swimming Pool, so perhaps the idea was to get the authors name in the forefront of the readers mind in readiness. Again this was an enjoyable enough story, but apart from the house at Lime Grove, the very one the Frasers departed from, there isn’t anything in this book that adds to what we already know from reading the full-length novel, this was rather a stand alongside type of read. For me the book was just long enough for the tale it told, which would certainly make me wary of estate agents!
My last choice was Here be Dragons by Sharon Bolton with a short story featuring two of my favourite characters Lacey Flint and Mark Joesbury and ties in with the end of A Dark and Twisted Tide, which was the fourth in the Lacey Flint series. This short story comes in at about double the length of the previous two and is currently priced at £1.99.
There must be a thousand people in the vicinity of Westminster Bridge on this beautiful evening . . . in approximately thirty minutes’ time, many of them will be dead.
Mark Joesbury, of Scotland Yard’s Covert Operations Unit, is undercover. Embroiled in a terrorist gang’s plans for a deadly attack at the heart of the capital, he’s risking everything to stop them. But as they prepare to target London’s most iconic landmarks, it’s no longer just countless strangers he’s fighting to save. Because they’ve also got the woman he loves, DC Lacey Flint… Amazon
Here Be Dragons is my favourite of all three of the shorts because it does add something to the end of the last story. Maybe this is a sweetener for those of us who were hoping for another episode of Lacey Flint – although personally my disappointment has been assuaged by the new standalone book, Daisy In Chains which is going to be published next month. In this book we get to hear what Mark Joesbury is doing while he is missing from Lacey’s life – and the longer length mean that there is time for some proper thrills! I’m so glad I read this one and fully recommend it for all lovers of Lacey Flint.
So three very different shorts all from my favourite authors with somewhat mixed results but perhaps nowhere near as negative as I feared. I’m not a huge fan of short stories and I was a little wary of feeling that I’d been conned into buying a book that I wouldn’t find satisfying. That didn’t happen with any of these books but perhaps it isn’t so surprising that I most enjoyed the longest offering. I also got an awful lot of enjoyment from meeting up with old favourite characters, far more than I expected. My conclusion is that for a quick read then a story that links with a much loved book may well be the way to go!
What do you think about short stories specifically written to tie-in with full-length novels?