Review: Cops, Crooks and Other Stories in 100 Words: 101 Tales
Short stories are challenging. I have written a few in my time but I prefer novels where I have a lot more freedom to tell my stories. This collection of short stories from Mark Bacon comes with an added complication. They have to be exactly 100 words only! You might think this isn’t possible and I had my doubts but not only does Bacon set out to prove it, he gives us more than 100 examples that it can be done!
The title gives you an idea that crime is one of the main themes in the book but there are other tales thrown in too, such as speculative fiction and even a historical setting at one point. The stories abide by the 100 word rule and are very much flash fiction, hurling you very briefly into a moment before dragging you back as quickly as you were immersed.
Given the brevity of the stories this is not a long read and you may even get through it in one sitting. The stories themselves are a mixed bag. There are a lot of themes covered here and some work better than others. Bacon does a good job of putting 100 stories together in so few words but the challenge may seem too much for some readers. I don’t mind a brief story but I prefer to get to know the characters and be fully immersed in the story. You never really get that in this book which is a shame.
That said, there are some good stories here. One of my favourites was the opening one involving two men breaking into the same house. Another was a husband visiting a hit man and requesting his wife be murdered only for the hitman to say he is unable to do so! There are some surprises such as a conversation which seems to be between a vet and a pet owner but takes an unusual turn. You have to applaud Bacon for the multitude of ideas but also for sticking to the 100 word rule.
Cops, Crooks and Other Stories in 100 Words is a good collection and ideal for busy readers who want to dip into a book for a really quick read. The brevity of the stories will not appeal to all readers and while I prefer longer stories I still felt that these were well done.
(Book source: reviewer received a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review)