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Book Review: Cold Mirrors – Author CJ Lines

You’ve been wandering aimlessly for hours, pondering the future, not really knowing what it holds, not knowing where you should go or who you should be. Always looking for answers, asking the big question: what is the point? Who hasn’t felt that at least once in their lives? Certainly, it’s a question CJ Lines keeps returning to throughout his short story collection, Cold Mirrors.”

Of the fourteen stories in this book, eight of them are in first person. As an avid reader, all I can say is yuck. First person stories aren’t the easiest to get in to; and I generally don’t like to read them. However, the two stories I enjoyed the most were written this way.

Emmeline- “Shreds of true beauty amongst the vile, pungent grime of our Hollow.” This quick story is two pages of flowing images and heartache turned to beauty. Duplicity- “I’ve always thought of myself as one of the good guys. Now I’ll admit that no one these days can be a saint but I think I have an above average code of morals.” This is one of the funniest parts of the story, considering what happens in the following pages.

Stop Press reminded me of The Truman Show and Emerson’s Last Stand, or, Keeping Up With The Joneses put me in the mind of The Lottery (Shirley Jackson). Unfortunately, neither of these stories were as good as the movie or short story I mentioned.

The Trending is about the dangers of Twitter. Again this was an okay story, but it’s something I’ve read before (and enjoyed more). The one problem I had with this story was the topic of technology; I got it, but authors need to be careful when they are incorporating stuff like this (Twitter, online strategy games, etc.) since not everyone is up to date with trends and the new world of ongoing technology.

Th biggest beef I have with this book is Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be, a story I found to be racist. Think of every 80’s movie with the stereotypical Chinese man talking, leaving out verbs, and you have Jeng Xiang.
In Every Dream Home a Heartache- While the story is not one of my favorites, I love the title, and I would have bought the book for that title alone.

None of the stories really stand out as incredibly impressive. A couple of them seemed pointless; the plot didn’t really go anywhere in those. They might have been good starts, but I’d like to see more substance, a reason why I should care about the characters.

This collection of short stories by CJ Lines, published by Adramelech, is put together well technically and the cover art is beautiful. The stories inside are not entirely original and the plots are pretty obvious. I was able to figure out what was going to happen shortly after starting to read each story. If you are going to write something that’s been done over and over again at least give it a few new twists and turns. That being said, Cold Mirrors is not a complete waste of time or money (trust me, I’ve definitely read much worse) but it’s not something I would rush out to buy.

Cold Mirrors – Author CJ Lines

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