If you aren’t already a fan of short stories, this book will change your opinion. In Lighting the Dark Side – Six Modern Tales, William Potter has written three novellas and three short stories that, as he says, “features leading characters that live their lives as normally as possible and then suddenly find themselves in extraordinary situations.” These six stories cover almost genre from thriller and suspense to mystery, detective and even romance. The character development in each story is amazing. All of the main characters are written superbly. The dialog never comes off as stilted or phony. Mr. Potter may well find himself in some extraordinary company with some of the best authors sooner than he ever expected.
The first story, Bent, Not Broken introduces us to Dwayne Johnson, a character who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a disorder which obviously makes him very socially backward. As Dwayne drives by a certain bus stop every morning on his way to work he looks for someone very special. Someone he has named “Black-Coat Girl”. The unexpected happens and Dwayne’s life takes a dramatic turn when he finally gets to meet her face to face.
The next story, In the Gray is a very short tale where the reader gets to peek into the life of Michael Conner. Most of the story is a phone conversation with his mother, but from that one phone call we are able to learn everything we need to know about Michael, his family and his past. It is amazing how much information the author can squeeze into less than a dozen pages.
Prominent Couple Slain is a great old-fashioned detective/murder mystery. In this story, we are introduced to Detective Jack Staal, a burnt-out homicide detective who has just transferred from the stress of the big city only to be faced with a horrendous murder of his new small town’s most prominent couple.
The premise of the next story is that May 18, 2010 will be the very last day of civilization. The comet, Ivan is on a collision course to destroy everything and it will be here soon, but all Trevor wants to do is get home to be with his girl, Kelly-Anne. For some reason it isn’t the comet, Ivan that worries Trevor, but something else. He feels that he’s already lived through this disaster many times before. Can he change the future?
Who hasn’t dreamed of winning a multi-million dollar lottery? Lighting the Dark Side’s fifth story, Blessing or Curse? deals with that exact topic. The main character, Brad Stewart has won 11 million dollars? Imagine all of the things that he can do with that money. Imagine what he’ll buy. Imagine how much his life will change. Brad imagined all of this, but what he didn’t plan for was that as a lottery winner he would become the target of an extortionist who has kidnapped his son!
The last story, Surviving the Fall is an exciting thriller that takes place a week or so before Christmas. In it, James Goodal witnesses a young woman being thrown out of a moving vehicle and takes her home to care for her. Unfortunately, Ashley has a very dangerous past that catches up to her and James. This story is fast-paced and keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Each and every one of the stories contains two of the most important elements in good story writing and that is believable characters and interesting situations. This book delivers much more than expected. I look forward to more of William Potter’s works in the future.