Fighting for a Future: A Review of Extreme Vetting, by Roxana Arama

            One of the most popular literary genres in the world is crime fiction, and one of the most specific subsets of that genre to come out of the United States is the legal thriller.  Most readers in the United States at least have heard of John Grisham, even if they have not read his novels, and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is still taught in schools today.  Legal thrillers are a type of story focusing on some sort of investigation, with a particular focus on courtroom proceedings or the legal system of its setting.  More often than not, the best legal thrillers are also interested in examining social justice as it pertains to a legal system while its heroes fight uncover misdeeds or prove their clients innocence.  Our heroes tend to fight using legal means, working within the system with competency.  Meanwhile, villains tend to be corrupt, either working outside the legal system or taking advantage of the system through their corruption.  No matter the setup, this is a genre that is at its best when tackling real-world, timely issues.

Thank you to Ooligan Press for providing me with an Advance Review Copy of Extreme Vetting!

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Make a Wish: A Review of The Cosmic Ballad of Layla and Airy, by Mira Ong Chua

            Be careful what you wish for.  That is the lesson of nearly every story where wishes, magical or otherwise, play a central role in the plot.  Inevitably, the wish in question presents the characters with some sort of unforeseen consequence brought about by the nature of the wish.  Usually this is something the character who made the wish simply did not think of, such as missing the ramifications of wishing for a million dollars.  Sometimes stories like this lean into horror territory, such as the 1902 short story, “The Monkey’s Paw,” by W. W. Jacobs.  Other times, the story is meant as a lesson of some sort for the reader, a common occurrence in fairy tales and folklore.  Most stories about wishes tend to lean towards the dramatic, for obvious reasons.  But there is no reason a skilled storyteller cannot have a bit of fun with the concept instead.

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