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Harry Straub's in trouble again! In 243 Death Squad, Harry has actually prevented the murder of Lieutenant Day; but because he's found on the scene with the murder weapon he's got some explaining to do. Only after other actual deaths follow across the United States do Harry and Lieutenant Day's fellow squad members realize that the killer has more of a connection with the Vietnam War than with local law and order.
The serial killer has an astonishing link with a Senator seeking the Presidential nomination. He in turn has a background that could end any political future, and that's where a certain Vietnam "death squad" comes into play. They must be eliminated because they are the only persons who know of a treasonous betrayal of America's victory strategy to end that most horrendous and shameful of wars in American history. The ultimate revelation won't fail to thrill readers who don't get a single clue until the very shocking end of this realistic tale.
In the short story, "Journey," Larry Thompson, a computer program expert, and Dr. Marshall are conducting experiments within the company Intermind. An intricate headset is designed to locate, isolate, and project memory genes onto a visual and auditory field. The testing, however, is flawed as the injections received before using the headset combine to unleash ancestral chaos upon an innocent community, all because human beings have once again crossed the boundaries set to control unimagined good and evil.
The eternal conflict between life and death continues in a separate story, "Jack-in-the-Box." Rout Lane is the place where evil personified seems to be threatening innocent residents. It's somehow tied to an abandoned house where nothing remains except for a toy that jumps out of a box when you turn the handle...and out comes a small dog or wolf that grows to a man-sized, red-eyed horror! Why are so many humans missing after the appearance and duplication of these not-so-innocent toys?
One more story, "The Wanting Tree," is a young adult story about the legend of Magway or the fulfillment of a young lad's desire to find the legendary Wanting Tree.
C. W. Love's skills as a crime and horror writer have most certainly evolved over time to display a master's ability to create uniquely adventurous plots that thrill and satisfy every mystery lover's cravings. 232 and Other Short Stories is a great read and one to definitely buy and pass on to your family and friends, a terrific collection that will make you want more from this writer who deserves wider recognition and praise!
Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on November 16, 2008