Sunday, February 16, 2014

Review of "The Corpse on Broadstreet" by Jim Beard, a Pro Se Productions Single Shot.

I'd like to say that I'm very impressed with Jim Beard's writing on his latest story. I really enjoyed his work in "Zeppelin Tales", but he has greatly expanded the scope of the environment with "The Corpse on Broadstreet". "Corpse" is a 42 page prequel introducing us to the characters and setting for a forthcoming longer work, entitled "The Corpse in the City". While his earlier story in "Tales" was more self-contained, we have multiple characters, sub-plots, and are introduced to a much larger locale with the release of "Corpse".

Helen Jonquil has the world at her feet. The undisputed Queen of Broadstreet, she is the toast of the town. The most admired leading lady in the city... and she is about to die a horrible death. The shock of her demise, and the strange and unknown method of her killing quickly reach city hall. Enter Lane Danner, head District Attorney. That is until he lost the most recent election. Now he's waiting for the changing of the guard. The killing falls in his lap, and his soon to be ex-boss, Mayor Patrick J. Battle wants it cleared up immediately. The situation is made more tense by the Mayor having won his re-election bid, and there is an undertone of resentment and betrayal between the two friends. After a council of war is called to debate the best possible response to the killing, Lane leaves to set about finding the murderer and bringing him to justice. One more service to the city before departing office... and then the matter escalates.

While making a visit to the scene of the crime, Lane is joined by his friend Lt. Markie St. Joseph. Mayor Battle's wife, Louisa, is also mysteriously at the scene. Out of nowhere a thick fog rolls in, Lt. St. Joseph is murdered, and the Mayor's wife is attacked, but survives thanks to Lane. The culprit is seen briefly, and his form is somehow... unnatural. A reporter from the local news happens to be nearby, and the press quickly dub the perpetrator 'The Corpse'. After receiving a communication from the villain, the Mayor refuses to capitulate. He declares that they are now at war. Little does he know what he is up against...

As far as I'm concerned, "Corpse" was a thrilling read. Mr. Beard fleshes out the setting and characters nicely, and the shadowy villain is VERY interesting. The underlying tension between the main characters is appreciated, and leaves many questions unanswered. This, of course, means that I will eagerly be waiting for the forthcoming release "The Corpse in the City". If you want a well written, fast-paced short with plenty of mystery and action, you can't really go wrong with "The Corpse on Broadstreet". The Kindle version, which I am basing my review upon, is only .99 cents! Why don't you take a gander, I'm sure you won't be disappointed! 5 out of 5 smoking guns...

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