The inspiration for this week’s Saturday Spotlight comes from my favorite story so far in the Evolved Publishing anthology, Evolution: Volume One, Jeff Burton’s “A Building This Size.” Jeff’s story is a mystery built on clever dialogue that emphasizes the power and motive behind what isn’t said. A coworker who just lost his wife to a tragic pool accident comes back to work sooner than anyone expected, and asks the main character for coffee. It’s actually this coworker’s last day, and our MC finds it strange that he asked him to coffee. Even more strange is the topic of conversation. His coworker asks questions like “How many working alcoholics are there in this building?” “How many smoke pot before work?” “How many steal?” Things get a little hairy when he asks how many people are having affairs.
I love a story with dialogue that powers the story, making characters come to life and keeping the reader on his toes to see what will happen next. This is one of those stories, and one which I will always remember as a superb example of action and suspense hinged on clever dialogue. It leaves you thinking and has definite reread value. This is only one of many excellent short stories in Evolution: Volume One, so go check it out and show Jeff some love by following him on Facebook or his website jeffreybburton.com.
Bio from his website: The stories of Jeffrey B. Burton have appeared in dozens of genre magazines (mystery, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, literary). Jeff is an Active member of both the Mystery Writers of America (MWA) and the Horror Writers Association (HWA). A collection of his short stories, Shadow Play, was published in 2005. His mystery novel, Sleuth Slayer, was published in 2008.
Congratulations as well to Jeff for his upcoming novel release, The Chessman (MacAdam/Cage Publishing), coming May 2012. The pitch is intriguing: Hidden forces are willing to kill any and all who stand in the way of untold billions. To toss the authorities off track, they borrow the modus operandi of a brutal serial killer—The Chessman—who stalked the corridors of power in Washington, D.C. some years earlier. The ruse is working brilliantly except for one minor detail. The real Chessman is not pleased—not pleased one iota—that someone has stolen his M.O. Enter Drew Cady, ex-FBI agent, who finds himself being sucked back into the very case that almost took his life, a case that crippled him both physically and emotionally. By capturing The Chessman and his blood-spattered copycat, Cady has a last shot at redemption. If he can find a way to survive, that is.