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Places to Visit on the Way There is a collection of 25 short stories, each with their own prologue to set them in context. In genre, they range from social commentary to science fiction to horror, with many having a religious undertone and some defying categorisation altogether. It would not be possible to write about each story individually, so I have chosen four that I particularly enjoyed reading. 'Paying the Price' is a Faustian tale with a twist and a very hard body blow at the end, which, for all that it is predictable, nevertheless has great impact. This is the first story in the book, with keenly observed characterisations, so it's off to a great start. 'Best Friend' tells the tale of an elderly man, who, just in time, regains hope after bereavement has robbed him of everything that made his life worth living. It is a fact that more of us than ever before live alone so it's vital that, as a society, we ensure that 'alone' doesn't equate with 'lonely'. A heart-rending but at the end very joyful story. 'Wish' is the story of Myron Schlumberger, one of life's unfortunates, until, like Aladdin, he gets an offer he can't refuse. Whilst reading 99% of it, the hair on the back of my neck was standing on end, only for me to explode in laughter at the end. Mr Schlumberger should most definitely have adhered to the old adage, 'be careful what you wish for!' Finally, 'Seeing it All (Again and Again and Again)' is another lost soul tale, though this time not because of a pact with the Devil but rather a misplacement between passing over and being brought back again. For this is the story of Lazarus, who, without a soul, is destined to live forever, never growing old, like Dorian Gray, and knowing everything that is going to happen. Whilst this might sound like an ideal situation to be in, Lazarus soon finds that, although making money is never going to be a problem, making relationships is a different matter altogether. Again, a very well-written observation of human nature. I should also like to mention two further stories that I didn't enjoy reading, not because there was anything wrong with them, but because they made me feel very uncomfortable, as I suspect there may be more than a grain of truth lurking there. 'Failing the Test: Again' describes the inhospitable and compassion- lacking reception meted out to Jesus on his return to an American midwest town and 'Papering over the Cracks' details the lengths the powers behind the thrones would be prepared to go to prevent ordinary people learning what is really going to happen to the planet when the forces of nature get out of control. The author is already working on 'Places to Visit on the Way Back', which will see the reappearance of some of the characters from this book. I know which ones I should like to meet again but, whichever ones they are, I very much look forward to reading their new stories. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador