PIECES is a fantastic collection of literary shorts. Michael Crane plays heart strings like a seasoned musician working a finely tuned instrument.
This collection of twelve short stories revolves around the brutal rape and murder of a young girl. Each tale delves into the aftermath of the crime, the residents of the town where it happened, and how those people cope with the tragedy.
Speaking of "Tragedy", the story entitled such is my favorite out of the collected material. Leonard, "Bobo the Clown", hooks up with one of his co-workers from his popular children's program. The dialogue in this one is terrific, and I have to agree with Leonard's point of view on the situation. People love to insert themselves into tragedies, whether or not they have a card in the hand. The story really spoke to me, as I've seen this happen first hand.
"Anything Else" captured the imagination of a small boy perfectly. When I was a kid, I used to create elaborate fictions about people I'd heard about on the news, mostly people who'd died young, wherein they victim somehow managed to escape their fate. I was crying by the end of this one, because I was this boy.
"The Gunslinger" is another story that plucked at my heart strings. A small boy endeavors to be the protector of his family by keeping watch over them in the dead of night. This story's about bravery and keeping those you love safe.
Those are the three tales that had the greatest emotional impact for me, but the entire collection is terrific. I'm also rather impressed by the cast of characters, as no two people seemed the same. We jump through the minds of the young and old, the broken and maintained, and each soul has a physical presence. I know these people now, and I thank the author for introducing them to me.
In summation: Michael Crane has captured a bit of magic with this collection of stories. He weaves the pieces together into a dreamcatcher, and the reader becomes trapped in its web. Highly recommended.