DiscoverContemporary Fiction

There's a War on Here


Loved it! 😍

Engaging short story I didn't want to end. Hoping the author makes it into a full-length novel.

When you begin a new work and the characters, the situation, and the setting grab you right away and don't let go, you relax into it, delighted you're in the hands of a good writer. I didn't realize this was a short story when I downloaded it for review. At some point, I noticed the % counter on my ereader ticking away fast. No, no. I didn't want it to end.

Short story writers have to lay down a world and their characters fast. They sketch in just the details that matter. Jirout has done this so well. I can still recall the backstory of this character weeks after I finished the story. I have an aperture now to see into the life of a hustling tow truck driver during a pandemic when he's forced to take a job his every instinct tells him is trouble. When the pandemic is over -- when that is -- we will recall through this story the critical everyday choices we made.

The protagonist is a mix of naivete and street smart, but his need to make a buck compels him. He has child support to pay. The story has New York City action elements, a chase and capture sequence -- and an escape. The events take him into gang territory and get him entangled in a Bronx street protest, drugged, and chained up.

I was rooting for him all the way. I haven't had time yet to read other works by J. Jirout but I will. He's one to hunt down and watch as his writing career develops. Perhaps he'll enlarge this engaging character and his world into a novel length work. Maybe he has other work just as good as this short story.

I don't need to know the gender of the author to read a story critically. I assumed by the style and muscular setting, this was written by a man. It's not. The fact that the story recreates such a harsh masculine world surprised me when I looked at the photo of the author.

Silly me.

Reviewed by

I'm always scrounging for a good book, one that transports me out of daily life into a world I will never live in. A good book is one that teaches me something by nuance, revealing the inner lives of characters I will never know.

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About the author

As a veteran English teacher, my fiction often features the promotion of literacy and the theme of justice. When I'm not experimenting with new recipes, reading, or watching PBS documentaries, I'm exploring the first-person voice in a new character or discussing fiction and language in my blog. view profile

Published on September 15, 2020

10000 words

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Reviewed by