by Jennifer Colgan, paranormal (2009, reissue)
Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-700-3
This edition of Jennifer Colgan's The Soul Jar is a reissue, as it was previously published by New Concepts Publishing back in 2006. The publisher website only states that this is a reissue, so I have no idea whether any revisions had been made.
At any rate, the story opens on Chinese New Year night. Bree Sennett takes advantage of the store owner's absence from his store to break into the Ming Xiao Chen's Curiosity Shop. She is looking for what they call the Soul Jar of Ammonptah. What is that thing, you ask? Well, what it is used for is only revealed later in the story, so I'd leave that for readers of this short story to discover for themselves. While looking for the Soul Jar, Bree encounters Mason "Chance" MacKenzie, a man she had a past with. But isn't he supposed to be dead? She shot him herself!
This one could have been a fun story if the heroine wasn't for a long time unable to give back what the hero dishes out at her and the hero is so smug that I have a hard time doubting his sincerity when it comes to the heroine. He starts out like a user, acts like one, and by the time the story ends, I'm so used to him oozing insincerity that I wonder what game he is playing now with the heroine by wanting to be with her.
I guess this highlights what I need for a story of this kind to work for me - a heroine and a hero who can dish out and take back with equal gusto while operating on an equal playing field. Because the playing field doesn't seem level here and the hero doesn't come off like the most sincere person around, I end the story wondering when he will ditch the heroine and break her heart again.
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