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Point Blank by Justine Avery
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Point Blank

by Justine Avery

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322,992,725 (5)None
If you can't stand the pressure... ask your mother to stop pointing the gun at your head. Steven is a writer, by all accounts of self-proclamation. But no artist can be expected to work under serious pressure, especially not when the pressure consists of his own mother indenting his tender skull with the muzzle of the pistol held in her hand. Suddenly, it's write or die for Steven. He better tap away on that typewriter or expect to be extracted from the land of the living before he's had the opportunity to finish anything he's ever written. Not to mention that his recently departed Father lying on the floor beside him should supply enough motivation. When Steven manages to frustrate his murderous mother to no end, his wish made under duress actually comes true. Mother's vanished... along with all evidence of the foregoing incident ever having taken place. Is his beloved father really dead? Is his own mother now a criminal on the run? Can he truly never cure his lifetime disease of writer's block? Only one person can uncover the truth and set the world to rights again. That would be Tim, Steven's much more successful, though younger, brother. If only Tim would actually believe Steven's retelling of the frightful situation he's just managed to survive. Someone's got to fix the latest family faux pas. And everyone in the family knows it can't be Steven. In the dead of night, two brothers battle sibling rivalry, serious mother issues, one heinous surprise after another, and a lifetime of family strife to get to the bottom of it all and uncover what's been lying beneath all along.… (more)

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This review was written by the author.
Reviewed By Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

Point Blank: A Short Tale of Macabre Family Faults is a short story murder mystery written by Justine Avery. Michael never realized that she was this insane, though she had terrorized him his whole life. Now, with the gun pressing down into his skull, he could smell his mother’s fetid breath as she demanded that he write his father’s last will. He was a writer, after all, she had gloated, until she had finally given up and slammed him into unconsciousness with the butt of her gun. Michael, the would-be writer, was a disappointment to his parents, unlike his younger brother, Tim, who had a real job, a wife and a family. When he regained consciousness, Michael rushed to his brother’s house to tell him what happened, but Tim was skeptical of course, and refused to take the drive. When Michael reluctantly returned alone to the estate, he was horrified when he heard his mother returning to the library, and quickly hid in the concealed closet he’d known about since he was a child. She was dragging something heavy and in his mind he conjured up the horrific image of his murdered father.

Justine Avery’s dark short story, Point Blank: A Short Tale of Macabre Family Faults, is a disarmingly clever black comedy about a would-be writer with a lifelong writer’s block and his long-suffering parents. Michael and Tim’s mother is convincingly terrifying, and Avery’s descriptions of her are bound to provoke shudders in the most hardened horror fans’ hearts. This well-written and atmospheric story is suspenseful and well-plotted. You can feel the despair and cold chill in the large estate house, and sense the dread Michael feels at the approach of his mother. One can’t help but wonder how he had managed to stay sane in that house for his forty plus years, a captive audience for his mother and father, who remind him all too vividly of his failures. Point Blank’s rich images are stark and unforgettable, and the story is a sterling example of just how good horror can get. It’s highly recommended. ( )
  JustineAvery | Aug 24, 2019 |
My first response: Justine Avery, YOU are one twisted person! This novella was everything it was touted to be... yet... still.... it caught me unaware and chomped off my head with that final twist! My second response was to ponder: I wonder what YOUR motivation was... then my final thought: NO, never mind, I don't want to know! BRAVO! ** I won this in a GOODREADS giveaway. ** ( )
  tenamouse67 | Nov 14, 2017 |
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