A Therapeutic Death: Violent Short Stories


paperback, ebook
February 04, 2022
$12.95 - $3.99
176
978-1-956957-04-4

A Therapeutic Death, J.B. Stevens’s collection of short crime stories, is an outstanding volume. Stevens blends mystery, comedy, true crime, and noir masterfully. Furthermore, he mixes micro-fiction with longer works in an uncommonly skillful manner.

The volume opens with “To Keep A Secret,” an Appalachian noir piece. It is reminiscent of the best David Joy work. The story tells of two veterans coming to terms with their mistakes, a decade after their time in Iraq. The ending is heartbreaking in its inevitable climax.

This is followed by “A Well-Lit Path”—the tale of a man framed for murder who is quickly running out of options.

Next up is the mixed-martial-arts focused entry “The Orange Key.” The author’s vast experience in the world of fighting springs to the surface. The prose is authoritative, but entertaining as can be.

“The Handprint,” winner of Mystery Tribune’s inaugural micro fiction contest, follows. This story is sharp, short, and as violent as you’ve ever read.

Midway through the book is the biting comedy piece “Maybe a Don’t Want to Be Found”—a send up of The Most Dangerous Game—from the eyes of “Waldo”, the titular character in “Where’s Waldo”.

Next comes “The Bunker” and “The Mortar,” two slower paced, true, war stories.

“The Mask” is a skin-crawlingly-disgusting true crime piece that will leave the reader feeling as if they lost a piece of their innocence.

Bringing the volume home is “The Georgia Queen,” a noir tale that is also a palate-cleansing love-letter to 1980s American pop culture.

In addition to the work mentioned above, A Therapeutic Death contains numerous other outstanding pieces.

A Therapeutic Death is a deep and heartfelt examination of life after war, as well as a page-turningly-fun read. The violence is raw. The comedy is laugh-out-loud funny.


Praise for A Therapeutic Death: Violent Short Stories

“Knockout prose in a fistful of words. I’ll read anything J.B. Stevens writes.”

—Marc Cameron, New York Times Bestselling Author