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Detailed Book Review
Shadow Play         
Shadow Play
By Jeffrey B. Burton
ISBN: 978-1-929763-19-1
Price: $12.95
Shipping: $4.00
Don't turn around. Walk fast, faster because someone or something might just be after you. This superb short story collection offers enough mystery, murder, mayhem, and twists and turns to fill a whole seasons worth of the old Alfred Hitchcock Presents or The Twilight Zone television episodes.

Jeffrey B. Burton's next book, Sleuth Slayer, written in partnership with his father, is also published by Pocol Press. His website is SomeHack.com.

Shadow Play is also available as an ebook on Amazon.com for the Kindle.

Book Review Details:
Reviewed Appeared In: Thisweek Newspapers (Minnesota)
Reviewed By: Brett Andersen
Text Of Review:

Local author plays with shadows, minds

It's too early to say whether the name Jeffrey B. Burton will ever be mentioned with the masters of horror, suspense and mystery, but the recent publication of Shadow Play takes the next step in the Apple Valley author's career.

Jeffrey B. Burton, Apple Valley, recently published a collection of his horror/suspense stories in Shadow Play, available from Pocol Press.

"If I make enough to buy a case of Guinness, it'll be a rip-roaring success," joked Burton.

While his expectations and bravado may be comparatively low, his talent and quality stack up well.

Shadow Play is a collection of Burton's short stories and was released by Pocol Press in late February.

Burton, a self-described life-long bookworm, has published many stories in various magazines including Outer Darkness, Quantum Muse, The Cozy Detective, Potpourri, Crimson, and Millennium Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine. "I read everything," said Burton.

Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Robert McCammon are quickly listed when Burton is asked about literary influences.

However, he credits Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man for his interest in the short story.

"If someone could keep it at that level, where you want to read it five years later, the short story could come back," said Burton.

About a dozen or so years ago Burton picked up the relatively inexpensive hobby of short story writing. As a rookie trying to get stories published, Burton ran into some resistance from editors. He said the submission process he used was "rife with errors" and he initially wrote "slice of life" stories for which only a limited market exists.

"I actually kind of tripped into mystery and horror," he said.

Burton wrote a horror story in 1994 and submitted it to Nightmares magazine. The editor thought enough of the story to recommend a few changes and suggest a resubmitting. Burton made some alterations and the story was published. He had a second story published in Nightmares before the publication "quietly went away."

Burton estimated that he has published about 30 stories in "mid-level genre" publications in the past decade. He estimated that quantity would increase by 10 to 15 if other publications did not quietly disappear as Nightmares did. "A lot of these publications are more labors of love," he said.

But that success put wind in Burton's sails and encouraged him to explore the horror/mystery genre of writing. After publishing several stories, he began telling people he was working on a collection.

"Finally my wife called my bluff," said Burton. "She bought me a Writer's Guide on marketing fiction."

He narrowed the field to a handful of publishers that accepted short stories and did not require agents. Burton borrowed a friend's book on writing query letters, and proposed his book to the publishers. Pocol Press was the first to respond. He sent them a "hodge-podge" of stories consisting of a variety of genres. After weeding out some of the stories, Pocol editors chose to concentrate on the horror/suspense genre and asked Burton for a few more original stories.

The content of the book was eventually decided upon and Pocol Press released it in the middle of February.

Shadow Play is titled after the lead story, which was inspired by Burton's daughter announcing that she was afraid of her shadow.

Burton twisted that fear into an original tale with human elements everyone can relate to and supernatural elements anyone could irrationally fear.

Burton said what makes a good horror/suspense story is the implied rather than the graphic.

"The reader can fill in the blanks on their own and that is a little better than being graphic," he said.

D. E. Davidson, editor at Night Terrors Publications, wrote in a review, "The book ... is filled with 20 original and shadowy tales on the cutting edge of modern horror/suspense. These stories capture the dark reality we all fear, at once eerie and haunting, chilling and nightmarish."

Burton describes most of the stories as "PG-13ish" with a few rated "R."

Shadow Play is available for $12.95 at online bookstores including Amazon.com, and Borders, and directly from Pocol Press at www.pocolpress.com. More information about Burton is available at www.somehack.com.

Date Reviewed: 03/11/2005
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