Rating: 4 stars
Tonio, a renown painter of abstract realism, made the mistake of accepting an invitation for a movie date from a man he just met at a gallery opening. The man’s jealous lover made sure Tonio never made that mistake again by savagely attacking him with a knife. Now scarred and traumatized, Tonio rarely leaves his studio. His only contact with the outside world consists of his sister, Jessie who is also his agent. With a gallery opening a new show of his paintings, his sister finally talks him into attending the opening and go to the gallery party afterwards.
Jonam is also attending the gallery show. He owns a close protection agency and had met Tonio by accident in a nearby park. Tonio had been sketching people in the part and rejected Jonan’s efforts to talk to him. When Jonam attends the gallery show, Tonio does his best to avoid him. But Tonio’s attacker calls and threatens him just before the party. When her brother doesn’t show up for the party, Jessie and Jonam show up at Tonio’s apartment and the find the man cowering in fear. Jonam offers to protect Tonio and find out whose behind the threats. Can Jonam find the attacker and free Tonio from the threats and fears?
The author packs a lot into 86 pages. There is contemporary romance, mystery, the art world, a scarred artist, and lethal stalker. Edward Kendricks did a great job with Tonio. Tonio is a believable character, traumatized by a brutal attack on him by unseen thugs. The scars left behind are both physical and emotional. I can believe that this character retreats into a shell and that his art changes direction with the brutality inflicted upon him. That the attack was unexpected and undeserved only deepened the trauma left behind. I did find it unrealistic that the police were not brought into this case especially given he was a well-known artist but PTS can make victims act illogically. Jonam was a tad less defined as a character. Jonam was tall, good looking and efficient at his job. It wasn’t until the end of the story that I found out he was Swedish and that accounted for his name. More of a backstory on Jonam early on would have helped. It was hard to get a feel for a connection between the two men when I could only get a handle on one of them. The story seemed rushed at the end and the denouement resolved far too quickly for the buildup that preceded it.
Still Abstract Realism is a neat little short story that I enjoyed reading. I look forward to more from Edward. Kendricks.
Cover: Cover Artist Reese Dante. Cover is gorgeous. Both models work for the characters inside the story. Fonts are great. Good job.