Ekleipsis: the Abyss
by Tamel Wino

"My hands are on the controls. Jittery as a fleeing, inflamed dragonfly. We continue to drop. Five thousand feet. Not yet. Seven thousand. Tingling all over my body."

Wino's book is a collection of six short stories. The second part of the title is a great indication of the subject matter. Each story involves a character or characters who have fallen into a form of moral abyss. Some examples from the tales include a paranoid billionaire who will kill to find the right person to write his story, a hitchhiking musician who plays a mental game with a serial killer, and a self-absorbed pilot who realizes the only thrill left in life comes when life is at stake. What is interesting in Wino's collection is the focus on the individual and how each got to this point in their life. The characters all face life and death situations, but this isn't a thriller or horror collection that will scare or keep the reader awake. The focus is on how the people shape or are shaped by the situation.

It is clear early in the reading that Wino has studied and practiced his craft. His sentences are clean, descriptive when appropriate, and not loaded with the irrelevant. The stories are well-packaged and generally have the feel of watching a syndicated crime drama. Except for one story which features a change in the point of view, each story follows a similar pattern in setup and resolution. After a couple of stories in, the reader knows what structure to expect. The stories are reminiscent of what readers are likely to encounter on weeknight television. Fans of this form of entertainment will likely enjoy these well-crafted stories about everyday people whose lives are shattered by lunatics.

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