AMUSE-BOUCHE by Amber Benson & Jeffrey J. Mariotte

When a story has a title that you just don’t get, the plot runs the risk of becoming lost in the translation. I’m not proficient in French. In fact, I hadn’t heard of the term “Amuse-bouche” until it appeared on the 28th episode of The Shared Desk: Reflections on #SmokyWriters2014. After learning the definition, things make more sense.

This is one of those stories where you can kind of tell who wrote what. Each author seemed to play in the mind of one of the two characters; giving us a scene from different angles. The scenario is this. Girl gets abducted, wakes up in a basement, is strapped down to a table. She hears a disembodied voice from somewhere. The person who captured her isn’t right in the head. He’s the son of two celebrities that thinks he is the greatest director since David Lynch. He has cameras trained on her and is watching in another room. Add in the quirk of our aspiring film-maker being cannibalistic, and you have yourself the formula.

This one was alright. It didn’t take hold of my imagination as much as it could have. To be honest, I’ve read more disturbing characters than the male in this story. (See author John Saul’s work for examples.) What also didn’t help is that this is the second story I can count that has a character doing something to her nose. What’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander in this case. Any shock value isn’t quite there this time. All in all, this is a story that has a premise which felt tedious when the ball got rolling; worth sticking around for where the plot takes you. Otherwise, a meal you could pass up if it were your only option.