A short story a day review

Tag: Pat Dennis

The Maltese Tater Tot by Pat Dennis

by Barb Goffman


From Pat Dennis’ collection Hotdish To Die For (Penury Press, 2000).

A rich, older man marries a much-younger woman and treasures her with gifts (and an allowance). Suddenly, her jewelry starts going missing, one piece at a time. The husband suspects the wife is up to something and hires a P.I. to figure things out.

And this review marks my end of this challenge. 300 stories officially read in 2012. When it started I hoped to actually read a story a day for a year. That was the exact challenge. That morphed into: Could I read 366 stories in the year, knowing that some days I might not get to read any, but on other days, I could read several? My goal kept changing as I had more non-short-story days than expected: First, 350 stories. Then 325. And now, finally, 300, which I think is a respectable finish.

I should add that I probably read nearly 350 short stories this year, but I didn’t write about them all, which was part of the challenge. If I hated a story, I may not have written about it. If I didn’t finish a story, I didn’t write about it. If I read an unpublished story (I’m a co-editor of the Chesapeake Crimes anthology series), I didn’t write about it. Knowing this makes me feel even better about my 300.

Because of this challenge, I read a lot of authors this year I had never read before, some of whom I’m particularly excited about and will seek out more of their work. These authors include Steve Liskow, Pat Dennis (her Puck stories are so good), David Dean, and Lynne Heitman.

This challenge also gave me the opportunity to read a lot more stories by John Floyd, one of my favorite short-story authors. If you haven’t read him yet, you’re  missing out.

Finally, having read more short stories this year than ever before, especially in such a concentrated period, enabled me to better understand what works in a story and what doesn’t (at least for me). I hope my own writing has improved as a result.

I’ve enjoyed sharing these pages with my fellow readers, especially Katherine Tomlinson and Patti Abbott, who both are on track to hit 366 stories by December 31st. Way to go, ladies! A hat tip to Brian Lindenmuth of Spinetingler for setting up this challenge last December. It’s been a pleasure.

The Lutheran Who Lusted by Pat Dennis

by Barb Goffman


From Pat Dennis’ collection Hotdish To Die For (Penury Press, 2000).

When a lusty Lutheran goes off her meds, again, her amorous intentions could prove fatal. Think Lucy Ricardo but far more dangerous.

Hotdish To Die For by Pat Dennis

by Barb Goffman


From Pat Dennis’ collection Hotdish To Die For (Penury Press, 2000).

The narcissistic queen of a book club that never discusses books is murdered. Many suspects abound.

The Elder Hostile by Pat Dennis

by Barb Goffman


From Pat Dennis’ collection Hotdish To Die For (Penury Press, 2000).

Every week JP writes a  mean column in his senior-citizens complex’s newsletter, so it’s no surprise to him when someone tries to kill him. Again. JP sets off to find the attempted murderer and stumbles upon something quite unexpected.

Cabin Fever by Pat Dennis

by Barb Goffman


From Pat Dennis’ collection Hotdish To Die For (Penury Press, 2000).

Horrible father and son Pete and Jeff hate each other with a passion. Mix in Pete’s plans to sell Jeff’s weekend cabin out from under him,and you know things aren’t going to end well.

Death by Idaho by Pat Dennis

by Barb Goffman


From Pat Dennis’ collection Hotdish To Die For (Penury Press, 2000).

After thirty long years of marriage, Lars has had enough and plans to off his wife. But you know what happens to plans, don’t you?

Dead Line by Pat Dennis

by Barb Goffman


From the anthology Deadly Treats, edited by Anne Frasier (Nodin Press, 2011)

All her life, Kate’s little sister, Puck, has shown her up. Whatever Kate did, Puck did better. Now Puck has moved into Kate’s neighborhood and is trying to out-decorate her for Halloween. Oh, it’s the last straw. So Kate devises a little plan to get even …

This was a cute, funny story.

Puck by Pat Dennis

by Barb Goffman

14/366 from the anthology Once Upon A Crime edited by Gary R. Bush and Chris Everheart (Nodin Press 2009)

Put-upon,  narcissistic Edith Mae can’t stand her neighbors or her husband or anyone, really.  And she hates when her neighbor Puck comes knocking at her door, selling plastic crap to raise money so little hockey players in the neighborhood can go to some tournament. As if Edith Mae should shell out her own money to assist with that. But Edith Mae gets  interested when she learns that Puck has already raised $1,500 in cash contributions for the trip. Very interested. Did I mention that Edith Mae has no qualms about breaking into her neighbors’ homes? Of course, things never go as planned, do they?