The Game & the Challenge by Kim Ekemar

The Game & the Challenge

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ekemar (El Reino Del Terror, 2015, etc.) provides 13 riveting short stories of suspense and intrigue.

A commute to work in overcrowded Mexico City turns out to be a journey of many twists and turns. A Chinese and a Russian general decide who will win a battle by having a contest that includes Russian roulette and a chess game using prisoners of war as live pieces. A man who has the power to have anything he wants discovers the deeper meaning and implications of having wishes come true. A con artist who thinks he hit the jackpot winds up in prison, but that’s just the beginning of a tale of one-upmanship. These are just some of the plots, places, and characters in these stories, which can all be aptly be described as page-turners. Ekemar enhances his engrossing plots with a finely honed gift for description and metaphor, whether he’s presenting his characters or the vast array of worldwide locations and historical settings they inhabit. In “Mad Captain Boccaccio and the Ship in the Desert,” for instance, the desert fire and the man beside it are palpable: “The boulders cast long shadows across the space that separated them, thumb-nosed by the dancing flames that interrupted the serenity of the place. The man wore a cape….It covered him completely from head to feet, and barely allowed one to imagine the bearded features of a weathered face well past fifty.” Occasionally, some details or historical settings seem more like mere stylistic devices, rather than elements that smoothly advance the story. In “Gift of a Golden Wish,” for example, the narrator’s innumerable wishes go on for pages and distract from the storyline. Fair warning to readers who may be sensitive to eerie images: a few stories may not be best before bedtime.

A book of provocative, gripping tales, replete with elaborative imagery, despite occasional hiccups.

Pub Date: Jan. 5th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-5031-5908-2
Page count: 236pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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