Readers who enjoy quirky introspections will be entertained. In “Writer Rampage,” small town residents are shocked to discover their secrets spilled across the page by a pseudonymous author, resulting in a general sense of paranoia as they go about their daily business, and “Buck” draws a spirited portrait of a colorful local character who regals bar mates with stories of his overseas military service, only to end up facing down an unexpected—and peculiar —opponent. Mayfield even pays tribute to writer’s block in “The Artist Addresses His Muse,” which finds an author railing against editor-imposed deadlines while “staring at a glowing blank sheet of screen, not a word oozing out.”
Though Mayfield covers substantive topics, the highlight is the tongue-in-cheek style running throughout —“That’s All, Folks!” is a clear play on acknowledgments, with a nod to the literary genius required to craft a cohesive story from a ragtag collection of notes and cryptic jottings. Mayfield repeats main characters, giving the collection continuity, and threads their perspectives into several pieces. Readers will enjoy both the tidy endings and those sections left open to interpretation. Despite sporadic moments of gravity, readers should come prepared for plenty of laughs—and even an eye roll here and there.
Takeaway: A quirky, entertaining celebration of the power of words and the reality of being a writer.
Great for fans of: Thomas Pierce’s Hall of Small Mammals, Beth Lisick’s This Too Can Be Yours.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-