Tales for every mood, running the gamut from quirky mystery to chilling horror.
When a lifelong friend betrays her trust once too often, an elderly woman plans the ultimate revenge. A young drifter meets a famous artist, with grisly results. A secretary's get-rich-quick scheme backfires. Recently released from a mental institution, a woman fears she's hallucinating but is she? A detective makes use of an unusual witness. A woman escapes her coffin for one final farewell. A real estate agent discovers why her best model home is scaring away customers. Is a cache of Confederate gold really haunted?
Often strange, sometimes startling, always unpredictable, these stories and more await you in Malicious Intent.
I have never really been a fan of short stories.....until now. Author Elizabeth Dearl has done a masterful job within the pages of MALICIOUS INTENT," a collection of 22 short stories. Falling in the genre of Mystery and Light Horror, they are reminiscent of television shows of the past. Classics like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. However, they are written for today.
Short Stories are difficult to write. As a reader, you must be able to understand the characters, the plot, and still be satisfied in the end. All of this has to be done within the framework of a few pages. Dearl has accomplished this in a wonderful way. I found her writing refreshing, her characters real, and the plots fascinating, yet disturbing. Fascinating because of the imagination and creativity involved. Disturbing because they presented me with the unreal, yet real possibilities of life.
Among my favorites were: "Loyal to the end." About a murderer caught with his top off. "Artistic License." Exposed the tale of a drifter who becomes the canvas of his presumed victims twisted art form. "Three little words." Dealt with an employee that should have read just a little more. And "Almost." Was about the tale of a wife who got it wrong.
Whether you are a fan of short stories or not, you will enjoy the writing of Elizabeth Dearl. I highly recommend this collection of short stories and I believe they will be worth your time. I look forward to more work by Elizabeth in the future.
Reviewed by E.L. Burton, author of SOFT MONEY, Books 'n Bytes
"Wry, macabre, clever, and crisp, Elizabeth Dearl's short stories are a mystery lover's feast." Edie Claire, author of Never Preach Past Noon http://www.sleuths2die4.com
"Elizabeth Dearl's anthology of Stephen King-like short stories, Malicious Intent, is wickedly delightful. Between its covers you'll find villains and victims of every stripe, accompanied by monsters and maniacs to keep you reading late into the night. The crimes are imaginatively depraved and the plots delectably twisted. This is O'Henry surprise and Hitchcock horror poured with great skill into a most enjoyable package. I devoured this book in the course of 24 hours.
"Each story is a nugget reflecting an aspect of human frailty: Greed, lust, jealousy, ignorance, pride, self-pity. . . . you name it, you'll find it in this tight fitting, fast reading anthology. I was particularly struck by Dearl's ability to portray these emotions in a host of believable characters. I delighted when Jan of the Jealous Heart received a fitting birthday gift. I was gratified when Jimmy The Greedy contributed to the conservation of whales in a way he never expected. I winced when Lustful Mike lost important body parts. And I shook my head ruefully because Prideful Pa just couldn't leave that hollow tree to its fate. "If you're looking for the macabre, pleasingly wrapped in the off-beat, I urge you to try Malicious Intent--depravity at its most delectable." Galen Kindley, author of Hearts of the Morning Calm http://www.heartsofthemorningcalm.com
"Lock the doors and windows. Turn on all the lights and prepare yourself for a frighteningly good read from the pen of Texas short story writer and novelist Elizabeth Dearl. "Malicious Intent will satisfy light horror, mystery and crime fiction fans with old favorites, from the creepy, SMFS Derringer award-winning story, "The Way to A Man's Heart," to newer stories where crime pays, "Almost," or where the term con artist gets redefined in "Artistic License." Then there's my favorite skin-crawler, "The Flesh is Weak." All the stories in this collection feature Dearl's trademark surprise endings that will make you shiver and chuckle in evil appreciation. Enjoy! And don't say you haven't been warned!" Christine A. Verstraete is a short story writer, reviewer, and interviewer whose work has appeared in various publications both online and off. Read an excerpt of her interview with Elizabeth Dearl at her website: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~verstraete
"Malicious Intent by Elizabeth Dearl is a frighteningly delightful collection of short stories that will make you grateful you have to read them with a light on.
"Leading off the eerie collection is "The Way to a Man's Heart," a shivery story about the danger of crossing a spinster who has an eligible man in her sights at last. "Almost" spins the tale of a jealous wife whose attempt to rid herself of a supposedly unfaithful spouse backfires in a way she didn't foresee. In "Artistic License," a con man meets his match in an elderly man with an unusual hobby.
"These and other stories will send a chill down your spine, yet leave you wanting more of Ms. Dearl's charmingly sinister characters and plots. A book you'll want to read and reread!" Elizabeth Delisi, author of Since All is Passing, Fatal Fortune, and Mirror Images http://www.elizabethdelisi.com
I've discovered an anthology of impeccable writing that is consistently excellent throughout. This work is Malicious Intent by Eppie Award Finalist Elizabeth Dearl. Here's a short story or perhaps, more accurately, short-short story anthology that won't let you down.~~J. Alan Hartman, KnowBetter.com
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