Author: Michael J. Merry

Publisher: PublishNation LLC

ISBN: 978-1-387-65145-0

You could call Michael J. Merry's The Tomb Robber a collection of short stories, but I would describe it as more of a series of fascinating journeys that once again illustrate Merry's skill as a first class writer who fully understands the important elements that make up a good yarn.

Merry knows that one of the hallmarks of a good narrative is the slow building of tension until an unexpected plot twist catches us off guard. Mystified, we even are delighted in the manner in which the storyteller manages to pull the rug out from underneath us.

This is quite prevalent in C.S. Forester, Ian Fleming and Delderfield that tells the story of Jaime Chastain, who makes his living lecturing to local organizations throughout Latin America during the winter and in Europe during the summer. These presentations focus on various characters that play important roles in the literature of some well-known British authors as C.S. Forester, Ian Fleming and Delderfield. Chastain is an expert on the subject and thus is able to answer most questions put to him.

During one of his tours to Panama Chastain, while waiting in a luxurious hotel for his transportation to the airport prior to his flight to Bogota, meets a wealthy elderly gentleman, Don Pedro Rioverde who turns out to be the owner of the hotel. The two become friends and Don Pedro informs Jaime that he is a fan of English authors and it is a hobby of his to know everything about the characters in the various plots. He further goes onto tell Jaime that he is aware of his expertise concerning Forester, Fleming, and Delderfield and makes an unusual proposal to him. He offers Jaime the opportunity to be his guest for five days in Colombia where he will “pick his brain” concerning these English authors and after the five days he will send him back to England in his private jet. And here is the “kicker,” he will offer him two choices, the first is that before Jaime returns to England, Don Pedro will make available a quarter of a million dollars to be deposited in a bank of his choice anywhere in the world. The second is that Don Pedro upon his death will leave Jaime an inheritance that will be without any restrictions, taxes or other requirements. The documentation would be handed over to Don Pedro's attorneys in the appropriate country and Jaime will be the sole owner of whatever it is he bequeaths to him. Which one does Jaime opt for and how does it all turn out?

Another of Merry's skills is setting up his scenes in a way that are devoid of meandering. In the The Parish Priest, it appears that nothing of any consequence is going to occur that would affect the newly ordained Father Michael Curran, who is about to be posted to St Mary's in the small village of Ringslaven whose population in 2013 was little over ten thousand. The parish priest of the church, Father Brian Malone had just passed away, and unfortunately he had a reputation among his superiors as being lazy but this was not his only shortcoming. In the pages that follow we witness how a young Father Michael, who may be a trifle naive, nevertheless methodically unravels the chicanery that have transpired over several years at St Mary's during the time that Father Malone turned a blind eye to the illegal activities of one individual.

In this story, Merry does not devote a great deal of ink with buckets of backstory concerning Father Malone or the individuals that have played a part in the shenanigans. From the very beginning of the story, he tells his readers what they need to know without flowery prose and philosophical dialogue. Every paragraph, every sentence, every word takes the reader closer to the climax and as a result the plot is built in an efficient manner.

Overall Merry's stories share a common theme where life-changing moments come sooner than the reader and even the characters expect. Dialog is real and the development of the various plots are perfectly calibrated where we witness the lives of characters change in subtle and even extreme ways in a manner that stretch their limits.

Follow Here To Read Norm's Interview With Michael J. Merry