- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1292 KB
- Print Length: 48 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00AP940B6
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #417,648 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Stickman 1 (A serial killer action thriller) Kindle Edition
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The Stickman in this story refers to those ubiquitous happy stick family decals you often see on the backs of cars, with an entire smiling family of stick figures. It also refers to a serial killer dubbed the Stickman who likes to kill these smiling families and leave a drawing of his own at the murder scene of a stick figure carrying a bloody knife. The protagonist, a young man named Doug is on vacation with his girlfriend Jane and waits in his truck in a shopping mall parking lot while she goes shopping. He then witnesses a man pick the lock on an adjacent van and hide inside, waiting for the family who owns the van to return to their car. Unfortunately, Doug is unable to warn them before they drive away, and he's similarly unable to call for help since his cell phone battery rather inconveniently picks that moment to run down. When Jane returns from her shopping, Doug races away from the mall in hot pursuit of the family and their mysterious additional passenger.
As you can probably tell from this brief synopsis, Yates is well aware of the conventions of this genre (the dead cell phone) and piles one coincidence and familiar trope on top of another. Jane doesn't have a cell phone either, and she frankly wonders whether Doug actually saw something or is letting his imagination run wild or something worse. Moreover, as Doug explains to her (and the readers) the story of the Stickman, she's wondering just who the nutty one might be. And, of course, you can’t have a high-speed pursuit involving a possibly crazy driver without having a cop who shows up at the most inopportune time and who might not find Doug’s story all that credible.
"Stickman" is under 50 pages long, but it covers a fair amount of territory, both geographically and plotwise. Indeed, it could have served as the script outline for a pretty good thriller movie. Author Yates doesn't have much room to describe the settings and the finer details of the action (during the pursuit of the van, it's not fully clear how the vehicles wound up where they did), but he keeps the action moving at a fast clip, which allows readers to gloss over some of the rough spots in the plot. However, he does take the time to get inside Doug's head throughout the story to logically explain why Doug is so compelled to follow this through. It’s seeing the entire scenario play out through Doug’s increasingly frenzied point of view that makes the story so compelling. In addition, a flashback to Doug's childhood sets the stage for a terrific last act twist, one that catches the villain quite by surprise.
In all honest, "Stickman" is far-fetched, even by serial killer thriller standards, and, short as the book is, I found myself becoming skeptical on a couple of occasions. But it never quite crossed over the line of completely losing me through its implausibilities. Part of this is because Yates throws in multiple surprises to keep Doug and readers off balance, and the rest is because "Stickman" is very much a psychological thriller. Doug winds up battling himself as much as the killer as he continues on his pursuit.
"Stickman" is the epitome of a pager turner; the action and suspense are so intense that my guess is that most readers will finish it in a single sitting. Some of them may be a bit frustrated by the book's actual ending because it is rather open-ended. I'll just say that Yates has written a "Stickman 2" and "Stickman 3," so that should give readers a clue what to expect. Rest assured, however, that the ending is not a traditional cliffhanger; Yates wraps up this book quite satisfactorily and allows readers to resume breathing at a normal rate. Dennis Yates doesn't break any new ground in "Stickman," but he's a skilled craftsman who has put together one heck of an entertaining, gripping thriller.
If you are looking for a short story that will capture your attention and make you forget where you are then this is the book for you.!!
I look forward to more from this author and am hoping that since this short story could so easily become a full length novel that the author does indeed take it all the way to the finish......