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Friday, May 2, 2014

Rescue by Earl Staggs: A Short Story Featuring Tall Chambers

by Sandra Murphy

You know the feeling you get when a book is so good you don’t want it to end? On the other hand, you just have to know who did what and if they got caught. You want more, right away but the author is still writing the next book and then you have to wait and wait for the editing, printing, distribution–and like cotton candy, that one is gone too fast too.

Well, good news for fans of Earl Stagg’s Tall Chambers (Justified Action, reviewed at KRL). To tide you over until the next book comes out, Staggs has written a long short story (seventeen pages or so) so you can get your fix.

It starts with a bus enroute to Abu Dhabi. Muslim terrorists plan to enter the crowded street festival and open fire. Tall’s mission is to put a stop to that plan before it even starts. The terrorists will be given the option to surrender. If they choose to die for their beliefs, who is Tall to deny them?

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The bus is stopped by the simple expedient of exploding a bomb in the road just as the bus comes along. One of the terrorist, a woman, shows no fear and jumps out to threaten Ben, Tall and the rest with an eight inch knife. Really, a knife to a gun fight? But like I said, she shows no fear and frankly, looks more than a little crazy. Before Tall can say anything, his phone vibrates an incoming call. Talk about bad timing! When the President of the United States calls or in this case, his representative, you answer! I won’t ruin the rest of the scene except to say, in the midst of a scary situation, there’s a good bit of humor.

Tall’s agency is made up of twenty-five operatives and a half dozen computer experts, most ex-military. Whenever, wherever, terrorists are due to strike and kill innocent bystanders, Tall’s teams are ready to stop them–by whatever means necessary.
The phone call was about a terrorist who was set to defect but somehow got hold of weapons. Now there’s a standoff. Tall’s team is ready to move within minutes. It’s a hostage situation.

Image source: Earl Staggs

To say much more would be to give too much of the story away. There’s a twist at the end, lots of shooting, a hint of romance and a darn good story. The characters are people you’d like and even better, want to know they have your back. There’s a lot of action, gunfire and people are killed but that’s not explained in detail, thankfully.

If you, like me, are waiting for the next installment of Tall’s story and need a little something to tide you over, this will hit the spot. Until then, all I can say is, Earl, write faster!

Earl Staggs earned a long list of Five Star reviews for his novels Memory of a Murder and Justified Action. He has twice received a Derringer Award for Best Short Story of the Year. He served as Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Magazine, as President of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, is a contributing blog member of Murderous Musings and Make Mine Mystery and a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars. Email: earlstaggs@sbcglobal[dot]net Website: earlwstaggs.wordpress.com

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the arch, in the land of blues, booze and shoes—St Louis, Missouri. While writing magazine articles to support her mystery book habit, she secretly polishes two mystery books of her own, hoping, someday, they will see the light of Barnes and Noble. You can also find several of Sandra's short stories on UnTreed Reads including Bananas Foster.

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