The full title is Not What You Thought? and Other Surprises… A Collection of Short Stories, but that would have made for a seriously long post title, so I hope Paul forgives me for truncating his title.
Not What You Thought is a collection of stories ranging from flash fiction levels up to more traditional short story levels all tied together in a neat package themed around leading you down one path before revealing you were actually going down a completely different path all along. It’s like pure evil in book form, something this guy would write.
And it’s absolutely fun. Every last page. Every little forgotten alleyway of the mind it takes you down, every dusty path into every run-down shop in your head that turns into a Super Wal-Mart when you least expect it; it’s all fun. And more than a few caught me by surprise even though I sat down with the full knowledge that Not What You Thought was full of twist endings. Think of these stories as what M. Night Shyamalan used to write before he completely lost it: Unbreakable (one of my favorite movies), The Sixth Sense, and Signs not the abhorrent The Village or that terrible one where the trees convince people to kill themselves. In other words, the good twist endings that make you go:
It’s got some great reads and a few real gems in its digital pages. While I was reading I found myself laughing out loud (a rare thing for me) and pondering the meaning behind the story (a much more common thing for me). At times Not What You Thought is funny, other times it’s a pensive tale of the afterlife, still other times revolve around a dream or the sudden and inescapable desire everyone has to mess with telemarketers.
The problem with reviewing stories like this is you can’t even really bring up the plots without giving away the whole kit and kaboodle. Trust me, though, there’s some great stuff in Not What You Thought. As a bonus, it also has some great guest authors (Tom Benson – Lesley Hayes – Peter Nena – John M.W. Smith – Matthew Williams), who put their own spins on the twisty turny tales. Read the first one at least, it’s available as part of the Kindle preview, and you’ll be hooked.