Review: Subtle Innuendos (Mixed Tape Series) by Z. Allora

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Subtle Inneundos coverMax and Chad fall in love at eighteen and form a band.  That band, Euphoria, rises to the heights of the music charts and popularity in the 80’s.  Although still very much in love, Max and Chad’s romance hit hard times just five years later, due to the pressures of being rock stars and Chad’s addiction to drugs and alcohol.  Both their relationship and the band dissolves in an explosion of pain and betrayal.

Now twenty years later, Max, a wealthy music writer and producer, receives a mix tape from Chad, its message clear.  He wants a reunion with Mac and their old band.  And on New Year’s Eve, the concert Chad had always wanted their band to play.  Will Max take one more chance on a love he has never forgotten or will old wounds keep the lovers separated forever?

Subtle Innuendos is a short story in the Mixed Tape series from MLR Press.  At  64 pages, this is one story that could benefit from a much longer version that the one that was published.   Basically a story of two young lovers reunited after twenty years apart, I felt that Z. Allora had the basic structure for a good story but none of the musculature needed to fill it out.

The story starts in Springtime New York City 1986 when the boys are eighteen then flashes forward to The Present as a forty-five year old Max receives his mix tape in the mail.   The narrative flips back and forth between the past and the present, revealing bits and pieces of the boys lives.  I don’t mind this style of writing, especially when it is well done.  My problem here is that the author doesn’t spend enough time in either era to really give us a taste of the mens relationship or back history.  Instead of depth, what we are given is more in the nature of snippets or flash fiction and that just doesn’t do the job.  Allora tells us about Chad’s addictions and gives us pretty much one scene to demonstrate said addiction.  But in order for us to feel the angst and pain this causes to both men we need much more than casual statement and one explosive outburst.  The same goes for Max’s continued feeling of love for Chad, even after 20 years apart.  Max still has his pictures, and feelings for Chad but those emotions never feel authentic because we are not given the scenes necessary to bring those feelings alive for us.

There just is no depth here, either of characterization or plot.  Had this story been novel or novella length, that would have given Z. Allora the necessary space needed to fill out both characterization and plot, both of which are needed to enrich her story and the reader’s enjoyment as well.  This is a nice story but it could have been wonderful.  Recommended for fans of Z. Allora and the rock star genre.

Cover Art by Deana Jamroz.  Lovely cover, works for the story inside.

Book Details:

Published June 2013 by MLR Press
edition language English

Its Official, Area 51 Exists! Plus The Week Ahead in Reviews

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alien efaniroswell_e0 wavingIts official,  The government has finally stated that Area 51 exists after all!  The Washington Post reported yesterday that after all these years of speculation and wild reports, Area 51 is a real place.  What a stunning piece of stating the obvious!  Now the government isn’t admitting that those buildings are full of  aliens or spaceships of any kind.  Nope, just saying that hey, those really were the droids you were looking for inside those miles of barbed wire, high security fencing and soldiers.  No one fake Area 51 signknows what prompted this admission after all these years of denial but it is sure to make those believers of UFO’s, conspiracy theorists, and other diehard visionaries of the unknown to press for more information,  a fuller disclosure of exactly what is contained within those buildings the government has hidden away for such a long time.

I hope it’s aliens or spaceships or something wonderful.  Wouldn’t it be great for all those movies from Independence Day to 51 to be right?  Can the X Files Mulder and Scully be finally allowed that the truth really is out there? Can you imagine the pressure to finally let people inside the gates of that most hallowed UFO ground?  I would love to be there just to people watch.  It would be fantastic!

Of course, there is also a more serious downside to this article too.  That of the soldiers and workers stationed  within Area 51 who have been reporting for years that the place has made them ill, most of them tragically so.  And all the while they have been getting sick, they have  also been unable to tell Green alien perplexedpeople where they worked or what they were working on.  Still can’t.  What happens to them?  Government is not addressing that matter either.

I have to admit part of me never wants to see those gates opened to the public.  I love the mystery of it, the imaginations that have been set loose over the years by just the thought of the enigma that Area 51 represents.  I fear the actuality is far more mundane…like weapons from the Cold War or something similar.   I want there always to exist something unknown, something to pull us in, make us think or dream or even fear.  Something that pulls us out of ourselves and into the bigger picture.  Is that so bad?tiny alien

For now the question is moot.  The government has no intension of saying anything further about the matter.  While Area 51 finally exists (duh), as far as the government is concerned that’s it.  Just a sign, folks, ignore the men with the guns beside it.  These are not the droids you are looking for.  Well, you know what they say…..once the alien is out of the spaceship, its hard to cram them back in.  Just ask Orson Wells…..

Now on to the week ahead in reviews.  It is quite the mixed bag.  I am starting the week off with a book that by all accounts should be a must read for all writing classes and workshops as an example of how not to write a story.  From schizophrenic writing styles (more than one actually in one book) to awful characterizations, dialog that makes one cringe and an ending that just stops, well it has it all, just not in a good way.  Read the review just for the excerpts. Remarkable actually when I think about it. Then I am starting on the second group of stories from the Pulp Friction authors, this time Lee Brazil and the Chances Are series,  They are really good, I think you will love them.  I am also working on another mini rant, this time called The Case of the Missing Aha Moment.  I hope to have that one for you by Saturday.  If not, it will slide into next week and I will substitute a review on Saturday instead.

Monday,  Aug. 19:                 Aching For It by Stanley Bennett Clay

Tuesday, Aug. 20:                  Chances Are by Lee Brazil

Wednesday, Aug. 21:           Second Chances Are by Lee Brazil

Thursday, Aug. 22:                Subtle Innuendos by Z. Allora

Friday, Aug. 23:                      Burden by Annmarie McKenna

Saturday, Aug. 24:                The Case of the Missing Aha Moment – a Scattered Thoughts mini rant on writing postponed

The Queen’s Librarian by Carole Cummings