Book Review: This One’s Trouble

Book Review: This One's TroubleOnce in a blue moon you get your hands on a rare gem that makes many of your other book treasures seem dull by comparison. 'This One's Trouble' by Peter Sellers is one such jewel. A collection of eight previously published short stories, these mini mystery-thrillers are some of the best you're going to find.

Sellers, like Raymond Carver and Thom Jones, is a master craftsman with his work. He's the kind of writer that exemplifies 'less is more' and deals in quality over volume. Sellers comes from an era where premiums were put on talent and writing ability; a time where an author had to really know his stuff or risk being laughed out of a room (a sharp contrast to much of today). Each page of 'This One's Trouble' has been painstakingly composed, creating a pace and flow that is a true treat for readers. This collection of short stories is slim, but that is because there is rarely a word wasted. Don't let the 50s style cover fool you either; the pages inside have questionable morality and menace to spare. These are dark little tales featuring mostly everyday characters placed in situations steadily going from bad to worse.

Two of Sellers' stories in here are hands down a couple of the best shorts I've ever read. 'Toothless' follows a beleaguered cop navigating a nightmare world where sunlight sears human skin on contact and vampires are not quite the beings of lore we've been led to believe. 'Avenging Miriam' (winner of the 2001 Ellery Queen Readers Award) draws us into the world of a career hitman tasked with taking out trash a little too close to home, resulting in an absolute killer ending. These are but two tales in a collection that demonstrates the art of the short story done all kinds of right. Everyday evil keeps a low profile, but it doesn't escape the eyes and ears of Sellers who drags it out into the light and reveals it for what it really is.

If you have any stake in the writing game, this author's work is the kind you want to keep close by to remind yourself what the great stuff looks like. If you're an avid reader who likes their books with no bullshit and a master's touch, then get your hands on a copy. Slick writing sprinkled with grit and a touch of the sinister, Sellers is a true craftsman and his stories are well worth everyone's time. You won't be disappointed.

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