Private Number/Claws – Derek Muk
Reviewed by Steve Stred
This short feature is comprised of two stories: Private Number and Claws respectively.
The first story Private Number is the longer of the two, and according to my kindle tracker, it clocks in at 65% of the release. The story itself is very intriguing. A call-in radio show focusing on the paranormal receives a call from a lady saying her name is Faye, and that she is dead. The number is listed from a private number. The hosts reach out to Albert Taylor to come and help figure out if she is truly a deceased person calling in or is it a hoax. Mr. Taylor then helps the radio hosts get to the bottom of the mystery.
The second story is Claws, and while it is the shorter of the two, it packed quite a wallop.
The story is set in a small town that has a decommissioned mine. The mine is now used as a tour to draw in some tourists. Recently though, a spate of murders has occurred in and around the mine. Some people believe it is a werewolf behind it. So local law enforcement calls in Albert Taylor to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Now – I have not read any of Derek Muk’s prior output. And truth be told, I was unaware that Albert Taylor was a common character that the author has created and has a significant back story. So while both stories were well done, I found I was a bit put off by the glossing over of certain details. Doing my due diligence before writing this review now, I only then found out that Mr. Muk has numerous Albert Taylor offerings out there.
So for me, I personally felt a bit turned off by some of the elements and the pacing used, if you have read all of the prior Albert Taylor features, I think you are really going to dig it. I wish Private Number was a stand-alone feature and was itself a full length novel. The idea and the plot are fascinating and the author does a fantastic job of having the characters investigate what is happening.
I also wish Claws was double the length. Certain parts felt rushed and I figured out who the ending well in advance. I think with a few thousand more words Derek could have done a more efficient job of masking those details.
Albert Taylor the character is right up my alley. Investigating ghosts, werewolves and cryptozoology related cases. I will be for sure checking out many more of his stories, which I think will easily heighten my enjoyment of this release.
Star Rating (out of 5): 3.5*
An Albert Taylor Mystery Double Feature
Private Number: A radio station receives a strange call from a caller from beyond the grave, at least that’s what’s claimed. But is it a hoax, a crank caller, or is the person truly dead? When things get more baffling paranormal investigator, Albert Taylor, steps in to look into matters that harbor a dark and evil secret.
Claws: A series of brutal and savage animal-like murders rattle the small mining town of Brewster, Nevada, a quiet, little community where such atrocities are unheard of, where everyone knows each other’s name, and where you can leave your door unlocked at night…until now that is. Weird animal hairs are discovered at each of the crime scenes. Is it an animal or a sinister creature of myth and lore lurking in the woods? When the body count starts racking up and tension among the townspeople rises, the town turns to paranormal investigator, Albert Taylor, to sort matters and lay his traps for the predator.
Steve has a new book out will ALL PROCEEDs going to charity!
Steve Stred is an up-an-coming Dark Horror author. Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick.
Steve also has a number of works on the go and enjoys all this horror, occult, supernatural and paranormal.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog Oj.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official Website here