Book of the Day

2020 Silver Falchion Nominee

The Mask of Midnight by Laurie Stevens

The Muse of Wallace Rose
by Bill Woods

Westview
$14.00
ISBN 978-1628801804
Publication Date: May 2019
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The Muse of Wallace Rose

Review by Joy Gorence

Bill Woods is a talented author whose novella The Muse of Wallace Rose reads like a literary matryoshka. Instead of a series of nesting dolls, Woods gives the reader a series of events, one dependent on another. With the epigraph “We are what we pretend to be…” (Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night), Woods weaves a muse’s tale through Wallace Rose’s writing. Wallace Rose, a writer and the opening narrator, presents us with the role a writer plays in telling a story: “Maybe […] a writer comes in-giving voice to restless dead people.” Little do we realize that Woods uses Wallace in this manner.

With a style that Vonnegut would have lauded, Woods “found a subject he cares about,” i.e., writing. He doesn’t ramble, he keeps it simple, and he seems to have only left sentences in the novella that “illuminate the subject” (Bianchi 2019). In chapter one, we are told that “[Wallace] can make people do anything he wants.” It all begins with an imaginary story about two lovers who plan the murder of an unsuspecting husband. As we become enmeshed in the story, more murders occur in which Woods has removed the demarcation between imagination and reality. At the end, Detective Duffy tries to figure out how the murders are related. Woods, however, has given the reader the key to the nesting tales.

A Muse has inspired Woods in this narrative of passion and mystery. His talent as a master storyteller is evident in this and subsequent stories.

Joy Gorence is new to Killer Nashville.  She is an author, world-traveler, English professor (ret.), and avid reader.  Originally from Long Island, NY she now lives in South Florida with her husband, Bill and their two pampered kitties.