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The Puzzle Box Paperback – 28 Jun 2013
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About the Author
The Apocalyptic Four, all award winning writers, reveal worlds where a puzzle box holds the key to the meaning of life.
Eileen Bell: award winning author published in On Spec, Western Producer, CBC's Radio Anthology, Women of the Apocalypse, Evolve Two: Vampire Stories of the Future Undead and The 10th Circle Project.
Randy McCharles: winner of the Prix-Aurora Award for his short fiction, fan fiction, and fan organization, has been published in the Year's Best Fantasy 9, The 10th Circle Project, Okal Rel Opus 2 & 6 and Tesseracts 11, 12, & 16.
Ryan T McFadden: an award-winning author published in The 10th Circle Project, Women of the Apocalypse, Blood and Water and When the Villain Comes Home.
Billie Milholland: published in Chickadee Magazine, CBC's Radio Anthology, Western Producer, Women of the Apocalypse, The 10th Circle Project, Ride the Moon and a variety of weekly newspapers.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Professor Albert Mallory has stolen an ancient puzzle box, and plans to sell it to pay gambling debts. The night before the debt comes due, a man named The Chronicler visits Mallory and demands to see the box. From the open box, Mallory watches the stories of four other people who opened the box.
Warlock is a roadie for a rock band. He falls for a woman who really is part of a coven of witches, which he is all set to join. Through the open box comes Satan, who offers a chance to become the band's lead singer, replacing the current lead singer who is in the hospital. Autumn Bailey was sent to Earth to live as a human until her 30th birthday. She actually has a very strong connection to Greek mythology.
Angela Matterly is a video store clerk who likes to wear cats-eye contact lenses. One night, Roger, a fellow employee, gets the box open, and out pops an eight-foot tall djinn named Skip. Angela is offered three wishes, but there is a time limit. She uses one of the wishes, but things turn very bad, so she is able to put things back the way they were. Things get complicated when Angela learns that Ellen, her mother, and Skip, the djinn, already know each other (it's not what you are thinking).
Sam is a comic book artist who meets Lucy at an art show. Their relationship gets hot and heavy, until Lucy's ex-boyfriend interrupts them, carrying a shotgun. After he shoots Lucy, and then himself, things get weird.
These are all first-rate stories (personally, the second pair of stories are a little better than the first pair). They are well-done, and they are nice and weird. The reader will not go wrong with this book.
The Awakening of Master March - A would-be musician gets involved with a giggling coven. Good opening and some nice humourous moments. (Holy. Serious. Crap.)
Autumn Unbound - Interesting take on the Pandora myth. Sadly, I had trouble connecting to the main character in this one.
Angela and Her Three Wishes - Twentysomething video store clerk gets three wishes, but things prove more complicated when the djinn turns out to know her mother. Angela really rang true as a character and the plot moved well. Favourite line: "Quiet, Minion!"
Ghost in the Machine: A slow start, but around p. 7 there was a real sit-up-straight holy-crap-what-happened moment, and after that the story took off. I was briefly confused in the middle, but had it straightened out by the (satisfying) end.
Framing story: Again, I never really connected to the character and the sudden revelation in the Fourth Piece of the Puzzle seemed to come out of nowhere.