Flash Fiction Stories on Life and Death

Flash Fiction Anthologies Book 18

Fiction - Anthology
186 Pages
Reviewed on 07/23/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Theodore Jerome (Ted) Cohen is an award-winning author who has published more than ten novels--all but one of them mystery/thrillers--two books of short stories, and eight flash-fiction anthologies. He also writes illustrated storybooks for children (K-3) in the series Stories for the Early Years as well as Young Adult (YA) novels under the pen name "Alyssa Devine." During the course of his 45-year career he worked as an engineer, scientist, CBS Radio Station News Service (RSNS) commentator, private investigator, and Antarctic explorer. What he's been able to do with his background is mix fiction with reality in ways that even his family and friends have been unable to unravel!

Dr. Cohen's writings (he holds three degrees in the physical sciences) have received the highest reviews from Feathered Quill, Hollywood Book Reviews, Kirkus Discoveries, Pacific Book Review, Reader Views, and Readers' Favorite, among others, with many of his books recognized for their excellence through medals awarded by several of these same organizations following their annual book competitions. In 2017, for example, Readers' Favorite awarded Dr. Cohen's first short story anthology, The Road Less Taken: A Collection of Unusual Short Stories - Book 1, a Silver Medal while the National Association of Book Entrepreneurs (NABE) awarded the same book its Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Best in Category: Short Stories. The NABE also awarded Dr. Cohen's collection, Creative Ink, Flashy Fiction: Flash Fiction Anthology - Book 3, its Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Best in Category: Anthology - Winter, 2018.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite

Flash Fiction Stories on Life and Death by Theodore Jerome Cohen is an anthology of brilliantly composed short and longish pieces for a contest. Each story is inspired by a captioned photograph. The author compares them to M&Ms or peanuts in that the reader won’t be able to stop with only one. The analogy is apt. You simply can’t stop nibbling on these vignettes and musing about how incredibly well they work with the prompts. This is Mr. Cohen’s 18th volume of these flash fiction pieces, and it seems as inspired as the very first. Mr. Cohen writes exquisitely of human emotions, of life’s enigmas, of scenes and characters shaped in mere phrases and brief comments that leave this reader constantly startled at how much can be conveyed in so few words. And yes, like M&Ms (in my case kettle potato chips,) you simply cannot stop, even with the longer stories.

Let me mention a few that particularly engaged both my intellect and my heart as all great art must do. In the first piece, the son of a recently passed WWII veteran honors his father’s last wish to find his commander-sergeant of a village battle in which few survived. When found, the sergeant tells the deeply moving story of that battle while resting in a nursing home. In another story a Chilean military officer attends the funeral of a prostitute famous for dancing in red stilettoes. In another, a wife implores her husband not to jump off a bridge due to drug addiction—but whose? In “Mountain Pass,” a fellow employee informs a woman that a man she loves was killed in an auto accident in the Pyrenees. Then, there’s a group of George Harrison’s celebrity friends gathered in a hospital room as he is dying. In the final piece, “Gone Girl,” a husband cannot lose his guilt for having discounted the visible symptoms of his now deceased wife. Flash Fiction Stories on Life and Death by Theodore Jerome Cohen is superb literature and, like your favorite wine, you won’t be able to stop sipping.

Cassie Widjaja

Flash Fiction Stories On Life and Death by Theodore Jerome Cohen is a unique collection of forty-five stories centering around the lives and deaths of the subjects of these tales and the memories they left behind. As eloquently written by the Roman orator Marcus Tullius Cicero, the life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living. These tales were primarily chosen from the 438 stories in Book 1 through 6 of Cohen's Creative Ink, Flashy Fiction anthologies. Cohen also included selected offerings from his two short-story anthologies, The Road Less Taken, as well as stories from Cohen’s Mementos series of anthologies. Most of these stories are 250 words or fewer in length.

Theodore Jerome Cohen truly outdid himself with Flash Fiction Stories On Life and Death. Flash fiction has always proven difficult to write due to the delicate balance between getting your point across and still being succinct; however, Cohen succeeded admirably and curated stories that stayed with me even long after reading them. I love how Cohen vividly described each scene and made me feel like I was right beside the characters. With each photo, my interest was piqued, and I wondered how Cohen would reimagine the picture and weave the fictional tale behind it. Cohen did an excellent job of portraying his flawed yet human characters, allowing me to grasp the motivation behind their actions and the reason why they feel the way they do. By reading this book, I finally understood the saying, "You do not realize how much they mean to you until they are gone."

Astrid Iustulin

The Flash Fiction Anthologies Series has reached its eighteenth volume with Flash Fiction Stories on Life and Death. This time, the inexhaustible creativity of Theodore Jerome Cohen (and his pen name, Alyssa Devine) gives us 43 stories, all inspired by a photograph. The stories center on one of the most fascinating and sometimes disturbing themes we can imagine; life and death. A book that is now melancholic, now mocking, Flash Fiction Stories on Life and Death collects a variety of situations and presents us with a multitude of characters. Although we often know them only for the short space of a page, they are so memorable we will keep thinking about them for a long time.

Flash Fiction Stories on Life and Death is perhaps the gloomiest book in the Flash Fiction Anthologies Series. However, it does not mean it is less compelling than the previous volumes. Cohen and Devine are always great entertainers thanks to their original stories and subtle humor, even if the irony becomes very bitter at times. As death is one of the main themes, it could not be otherwise. What I like most about this book (and the other volumes in the series) is Cohen's ability to create stories from a photograph. While the longer stories have somewhat complex plots, the short ones always amaze me with their liveliness and wit. This author's prodigious imagination is a gift. Definitely, Flash Fiction Stories on Life and Death is not a book that will bore you. There is something for everyone, so I recommend it to anyone who loves a good read.