It is often said that some people are just born to do something. Unlike the common masses, their skill comes naturally to them and permeates their very core- whether they like it or not. It can never be put away or shut off as it is just who they are. They could be a born leader, teacher, doctor, or… detective! In Cutting Right to the Chase by author Stefania Mattana, we see a prime example of this. A good read for fans of short, snappy crime stories.
Essentially, the book is a collection of short stories which follow the escapades of former Scotland Yard detective, Chase Williams. Having resettled in the beautiful country of Italy, Chase cannot help but run into a series of crimes and mysteries which need solving. As readers, we are introduced to a group of shoplifters, con artists, and even an animal poisoner. All of these folks have one unfortunate thing in common… they are directly in the sightline of Chase Williams! Will the born detective manage to solve all the crimes… or is he finally beginning to lose his touch?
The actual composition of this collection of stories is quite distinct. Each one stands at 1000 words which makes for a very quick read. They are obviously designed with that purpose in mind and will definitely appeal to those readers looking for a quick “fix” of flash fiction. To be able to fully develop the plot in such a short story is a challenge all unto itself. The author does this quite well as the reader will find themselves easily engaged in the story events. There is precious little time for long, flowing descriptions, and instead we are thrown smack dab into the action right from the onset. The events are undeniably vivid and action-packed. While the resolutions do seem to be predictable, the manner in which we get there is rare and refreshing.
In regards to character development, Chase is the only one of any significance. Due to the flash fiction style, there is not a lot of opportunity to develop Chase or any other characters in great detail. Nevertheless, I do find that placing Chase in the new and foreign setting of Italy does manage to start setting up the potential to discover more about him and his inner thoughts. Be that as it may, I did find that I was left wanting to know more about Chase and what it is that makes him tick.
All in all, if you are looking for a good and quick read, this collection of stories could certainly fit the bill. Smart and sassy in content and delivery.
3 out of 5 Gumshoe Stars for this one!