59 Hours – Robert Schobernd

59 Hours is a darkly sinister short story set somewhere in the period of the Dust Bowl days of middle America. Farms are going under due to the drought; and all across the country, money is tight for farm families. People are willing to go to great lengths to save their land or secure for themselves some modicum of wealth for their future. Greed brings out the absolute worst traits in human beings.

Through a mixture of internal dialogue, flashbacks, and straight forward third person perspective, the author draws a sketch of two people who cross paths only because neither one of them are where they should be. Neither is aware that they are actually cut from the same cloth, so to speak.

While the ending certainly left me impressed by its dark twist and somewhat unexpected revelations, I struggled with the unrealistic speech patterns and forced dialogue.  Just when I would start to get a feel for one of the character’s personalities by their word choices, a phrase or sentence would throw everything off again. Michael was set up as a quiet, sullen lurker at first and suddenly became very charismatic. I would have found him more believable if he had immediately laid on the charm to the young woman on his doorstep.

There were some very fine passages in the mix that helped propel the story, but I found myself wanting more of these same meaningful word choices that showed me the situation and surroundings with the same inventive imagery. I wanted to really feel the excitement that Frances felt at the taste of her new life. The words simply didn’t instill the feelings in the way I expected.  The ending was much better than the beginning.

“Two weathered straight backed chairs on the porch faced the road. Frances sat on the nearest one and fidgeted to kill time, unsure of what to do next. Her fingers nervously drummed against her legs as she listened for any sound of life.”

3 Stars – A good story, suitable to its genre, especially at the end; but there were a few flaws that held me back.


 59 Hours is available on Smashwords.com



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