Eakle Reviews

Reviewing old books, new books, indie books, and stories.

By Grace Raidan

“This story is how you dress the Devil in man’s clothing.”

Eakle Reviews

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I think everybody has demons in their closet. They sit right next to the skeletons. Some are worse than others. And Annalise carried a big demon with her wherever she went, one that nobody believed existed. What’s sad is Annalise never realized the amount of power she held inside of her, how she could have truly demolished William’s life if the truth were to ever escape. That’s what fear does, though. It makes us feel powerless.

This story was really good. It was well written, had short dialogue that fit with the scenes, and it was very poetic. Let’s jump into the positives of this story first, being that poetry and imagery. From the very beginning we’re introduced to William as this strong, confident lady’s man that thinks he’s untouchable. You know the sort. But Raidan doesn’t focus on William too long, just long enough that you get a taste of him. Instead, we get great depictions of the scene and Annalise. One of my favorite parts is how Raidan describes that painting that’s just behind William. The one without any instrument in it, leaving Annalise (and myself) to believe that the two people in the painting are simply dancing to their own chaos. But it does more than that. It draws attention away from William, something that he doesn’t experience often. This was a really stunning painting with a great purpose. There was another part I really liked, and it was a very dark part of the story. It’s in the end, right before Annalise snaps back into boss bitch mode. She’s looking at her scars (which I’ll touch on next), and it says she runs her fingers over them playing them like violin strings. For me, I just get the feeling of the raised scar tissue. That part just hit different. In a good way.

Which leads me to my next point: the buildup. Through the beginning, Raidan does a great job of building tension. From the moment we meet William we know something’s up with him the way Annalise is sitting and fidgeting. Then we move forward to the way Annalise thinks he has horns and goat legs. Then a little more to the scene where she’s putting makeup on scars across her face. Then we finally get why she’s so scared of William. And what a tragic story that is. (If you don’t know what it is, go read it. It’s fucked up.) That pacing and tension is a great way to keep a reader hooked into a short story, just seething at the mouth for the big reveal.

Yes, I liked this story. It was well written, poetic, had good tension, and you get a good feel for Annalise. It is a solid 4/5 stars. But there are a few things missing for me still. We know that Annalise has been with the orchestra from the age of nineteen to forty-nine. We also know that William started near that same time as well. Then we get into the trauma that Annalise experienced. But we don’t know how long William was with the orchestra. How long did she endure that abuse? Did he leave, or did Annalise leave? We know, briefly, that William is with another orchestra now, but when did that happen? Is it in the same area? I need more closure there. Also, Raidan touches only slightly on Annalise’s previous stay in a mental hospital. I feel like that was just a quick way to close the police case though. Just tell the police she’s crazy and end of story. If a girl goes to the police with her face all sliced up, with or without being previously in a mental hospital, there would be more to that story.

This story reaches over 2,200 words, which doesn’t leave much room for Raidan to squeeze in those details. But I think that’s part of the art of the short story, being able to realistically and elegantly weave in those tiny details that close up plot holes. Raidan definitely has the writing ability to make that happen. In any case, this was a really great story and one that I would definitely recommend reading.

Thank you for reading! Have you read this story yet? What did you think of it? Join in on this discussion in the comments below!

Interested in reading this story? Or more of Grace Raidan’s work? Read it here.

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