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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
Eclecticism, compassion, and nostalgia are the veins of Theodore Jerome Cohen's Flash Fiction Stories with a Masculine Twist (Flash Fiction Anthology, Book 11) which also includes his works under the pen name Alyssa Devine. The characters consist of fictional historical figures and real people navigating through myriads of experiences and emotions. In 'Cards', two men are trying to cheat each other until one of them purposely gives his opponent the Dead Man’s Hand. The Mafia is one of the recurring themes in the collection with 'Capone' and 'Brando'. A mobster and a couple of detectives are having a battle of wills in 'Waiting', and the detectives are losing to the Don. In 'Compass', a man remembers a schoolmate, Tony, a gifted baseball player before he lost his way, joined the mob, and eventually got his deserved punishment. The elaborated version of the story, 'A Dying Breed', is included. By contrast, some mobsters still have a sense of loyalty and gratitude as a Godfather reciprocates his childhood friend’s help by donating generously to an orphanage.
'Unforgiven' is one of my favorites, where a son is fulfilling his late father’s wish to reconnect with his WW2 platoon sergeant and convey his last message. When he finds him, the son learns more about his father’s war experience and the reason their relationship was estranged. Inspired and adapted from Cohen’s mystery thriller Eighth Circle: A Special Place in Hell, it’s an intriguing and slightly tragic story, balancing the heroism with the terror of battle, and the consequences of war to familial bond. It's not all melancholy and grim; several funny tales such as 'Barber Shop' will definitely entertain readers and live up to the anthology's wide-ranging themes. Sixty-two stories of loss, friendship, love, war, organized crime, family, the old Wild West, jazz, Frank Sinatra, Bonnie and Clyde, and more - Theodore Jerome Cohen's Flash Fiction Anthology is among a few that achieve the brilliant range and diversity of voices in its genre.