Author: Michael Merry

Publisher: PublishNation LL.C

ISBN: 978-1-387-02568-8

Michael J. Merry's eight delicious short stories that comprise his most recent tome, Galleón and Seven Other Tales sure had me fooled with his fully realized characters that appear to be so authentic that readers may regret parting with at the end of each tale. In fact, it was not until I read the copyright page that I discovered that the work was fiction and that the names and characters are a product of the author's imagination.

As for the yarns, they are a stimulating mix of suspense with some humor thrown in. Some of the principal characters have similar traits in that they are clever, manipulative and cunning, although not exactly honest. And even though things go well for the characters, you nevertheless feel certain something will soon go wrong and I guess this is the ingredient that continually maintains your interest.

Merry uses a frugal prose style without over stuffing his stories that depict remarkable happenings that are eventually transformed into memorable tales where the lives of his characters are changed for the better by these amazing experiences that befall them.

The collection begins with its longest narrative, GALLEÓN, THE SPANISH TREASURE FLEET 1715 which moves backward in time and tells the story of a Spanish ship, the Santa Carolina containing treasures of gold, silver and jewels that was struck by a hurricane in 1715.

Fast forward to Jan 10th, 2017 when a small crew comprising an Engineer, a Mate and four deckhand's were on their way to deliver a luxurious yacht to employees of a wealthy owner in Colon, Panama. While travelling to their destination, the yacht runs into difficulty as fishing nets were impeding its propellers. Consequently, the crew were forced to steer the yacht to a tiny spit of land and it is here where one of the mates, Harry Rojas discovers the ports of a hull of a ship as well as a heavy, decorated coin. On further inspection, Harry notices that on one side of the coin was a cross with barred ends and a lion rampant in the lower left corner and around the edge were the letters 'HISPAN.' On the other side was a barred gate and above a numeral '8' and letters lining the rim spelled 'VMR' several times. Harry slips the coin in his pocket without telling anyone of his finding and this was enough for him to speculate that there were all kinds of explanations which in turn eventually leads him and some members of his crew to discover quite a treasure but not without several challenges along the way.

Each of the remaining eclectic mix of stories may be much shorter than the first one but nonetheless they are rarely short on impact. Among the themes are convicts who, for a price, can buy their way out of prison, an innocent bystander to a bank robbery that leads to some life threatening encounters, a miracle concerning a seminarian who is able to speak and see Saint James, an ex-convict who wins a Power Ball Lottery worth millions and his relationship with his family, an old man who performs a favor, a jewellery robbery and a priest that listens to a confession.

If I were to point out one of Merry's outstanding strengths, it would have to be his knack for creating plausible situations with credible characters and dialogue. I look forward to reading more from Merry who has shown himself to have abundant writing talent.

Follow Here To  Read Norm's Interview With Michael Merry