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The Final Twist
Edited by Lisa Rene' Smith

L & L Dreamspell , September 2008 ($18.95)
ISBN-10: 1603180516
ISBN-13: 978-1603180511

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

I know that short story collections tend to appeal to writers of short stories, but if you are a fan of mystery and crime fiction and you haven't read any short stories lately, you don't know what you're missing! Grab a copy of A DEATH IN TEXAS and give this anthology a try. I don't think you will be disappointed at all. There are 15 stories in the anthology and there are bound to be a few stories that will pique your interest and leave you wanting more. For those of us who already know how satisfying a good short story can be, the writings of The Final Twist group pull it all together very nicely, indeed.

A DEATH IN TEXAS is the second annual mystery anthology by The Final Twist, a writers' group based in Houston, Texas. It is an interesting collection of stories set in the Lone Star State. I missed the first anthology but according to publicity information, some characters reappear from the first anthology, DEAD AND BREAKFAST, which was also set in Texas. Other short stories, such as "Men in Jeans" by Pauline Baird Jones, were adapted from the authors' novels.

With 15 different authors, it's difficult to single out any one, or two, or three as "best" or "favorite" but if I had to narrow it down, I'd have to say it's a good mix of tales. I read "Feels Like Home" by Shirley Wetzel first because she is one of the reviewers here on our omdb! website. I didn't even know she was a writer until she mentioned one of her stories would be appearing in A DEATH IN TEXAS. (Shirley -- Loved the narrative and descriptions of the trip back to Comanche, Texas, by the way. Sometimes, you can go home again...)

"Rumors on Rat Shack Row" by Alexis Glynn Latner attracted my attention next. I thoroughly enjoyed the author's sassy writing style. And no, I never read an anthology in order from front to back...

Who wouldn't love a story titled "Growing Up Dead" (by Sylvia Dickey Smith)?

I'm not going to spoil the fun of reading new authors by describing the plot lines of any of the stories.

I'm sure readers will discover many delights in the pages of this anthology. It's good reading whether you want to spend an uninterrupted afternoon with a nice cup of tea, some late-night reading before going to bed, or just snatching a few minutes here and there during your commute. I'm already looking forward to the next anthology from The Final Twist writers!

The stories are: "Pushing Up Bluebonnets" by Linda Houle, "The Best Man" by Cash Anthony, "Growing Up Dead" by Sylvia Dickey Smith, "Connor Creek Fog" by Cherri Galbiati, "Searching for Rachel" by Laura Elvebak, "Die Mahnung" (The Warning) by Diana L. Driver, "Death on the Bayou" by Mark and Charlotte Phillips, "Men in Jeans" by Pauline Baird Jones, "Guilty" by Lisa Rene' Smith, "Rumors on Rat Shack Row" by Alexis Glynn Latner, "Feels Like Home" by Shirley H. Wetzel, "Dead End Job" by Cornelia Amiri, "Dark Pleasures" by Loretta Wheeler, "Secrets of Canyon Lake" by Autumn Storm, and "Anna Rose" by Betty Gordon.

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