OUT OF TUNE: Book 2 ed. by Jonathan Maberry. JournalStone (www.journalstone.com), 2016, 292 pp., $18.95. ISBN 978-1-942712-73-2. Click here to purchase.
Storytellers and lovers of music ply their talents in OUT OF TUNE Book 2.
I enjoyed the following:
“Respawn, Reboot” by Allison Pang. Kate knows it is unhealthy to play too many video games. She becomes almost entrapped in one after she discovers a friend who had died and then reappears in a game. How can that be? How dangerous is it for Kate to explore the game?
“The Beams of the Sun” by Dan Abnett. Folksongs about the alternate early life of a religious icon, and a man with a photographic memory, play into a tale in which one woman tries to stifle a history recorded in an old high school yearbook. While songs such as “Neath Galilee” and others stand out, it is one in which Jesus’s mother Mary punishes the child for doing childish-like (or because of his powers, bad or devilish) things, as in “Bitter Withy,” regarding the branches of the Willow tree ad why the tree eventually withers and decays at the heart (from respected British folklorist A.L. Lloyd).
“Midnight Rider” by David Mack. This tale is based on the ageless Suffolk Miracle, about a daughter -- in this case, Hallie-Mae -- who is madly in love with Joseph White Owl. The rancher fears white retribution if he allows his daughter to betroth a Cheyenne. So of course the rancher tracks down and kills Joseph. But does he really? You can’t keep lovers apart, in life or death. It’s an age-old tale done nicely as a western.
“Just Another Black Umbrella” by Delilah S. Dawson. A single and lovely funeral director is searching for a date online, but is in no hurry because the women he encounters don’t come close to any of his standards. Until one day he meets his match, Greta, who remains extremely beautiful, tempting, austere and aloof. Who is she and why does she question him? And why does Greta know so much about the deceased woman whose life is being celebrated in the parlor?
“Who is Bringing Milk to Me?” by Josh Malerman. The folk song, “The Milkman,” delivers a touch of mystery and mayhem as the handicapped Mary sits inside her house all day, trapped by her predicament, but her imagination soars with thoughts of the milkman, whose footsteps she hears, but she never sees him. Who is he? What does he look like? What is he like? Mary writes him a letter, asking to see him. Unfortunately, Mary should be careful what she asks for.
“A Tale of Three Deaths” by Rachel Aukes. A man discovers his wife is having an affair and, of course, challenges the cheater to a duel. What he doesn’t know is that the devil has led him down this path to destruction (a story inspired by “Matty Groves” or “Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard.”)
“Long Black Veil” by David J. Schow. A murderer whose witnesses actually record the crime has to deal with his own execution and the fate of eternity.