Atonement, by Michael Bracken, is a good example of an author packing a big story into a short format. Not a single word is wasted in the telling of this tale.
The setting is the Blue Bonnet Cafe, a barely-hanging-on restaurant in a dying small town. The owner, cook, busboy and dishwasher are one and the same, surviving only because he owns the building and lives on his Social Security checks. Am I painting a picture of bleak?
The story starts with the vivid image of the town's only traffic light having been shot out decades ago. By the end, you learn why. As with many of the stories I have reviewed, if I say too much, I'll give away the ending. Suffice it to say, Atonement begins with a bang, and continues relentlessly to a powerful closing.
You can find this story in the April issue of Mystery Weekly Magazine.
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