First published in August of 2014, David Moody’s short story ‘The Deal’ is an ebook-only release that was made available exclusively to those who subscribed to the author’s online newsletter.

DLS Synopsis:

Seven floors up in an otherwise empty high-rise that’s destined for destruction; he awaits the man who will free him from the problem he faces.  In the empty remains of the concrete complex, he knows that whatever happens here will undoubtedly affect the rest of his life.

He tells himself that he has no other choice.  His wife, Moira, had backed him into a corner.  And it wasn’t like he’d actually hurt anyone.  All he’d done was looked at pictures online.  He didn’t choose to be this way.  He didn’t decide what it was that would get him off.  None of this was his choice.

But she’d found out about his little perversions.  And now she was going to use her newly-found knowledge against him.  She was going to ruin him and everything he’d worked his whole life to achieve.

So there was only one choice left.  One way to get out of this mess once and for all.  And that’s why he was here.  Fifty-two years old and waiting in the gloom of the deserted high-rise to make a deal with a hitman.

However, nothing is that simple.  There are conditions to the deal.  It’s not just about the money, the hired killer has terms that must be agreed to.  But they’re terms that he agrees to because he’s desperate.  Terms that he’s sure couldn’t possibly come back on him.  After all, this deal should mean the end to all his troubles…

DLS Review:
Moody offers up a short that’s somewhat surprisingly devoid of any post-apocalyptic premise.  After all, the vast majority of his work to date had pretty much adopted some form of ‘end of the world’ theme.  Instead, here we have a dark and really quite twisted tale that’s feeds off purposefully unspoken suggestions to create a narrative that gradually reveals itself to the reader.

And it’s this air of the unknown that really makes the short such a success.  Snippets on information are drip-fed to the reader, slowly forming a picture which provides the premise and overall dirt-and-sleaze plot.  At this point the reader is a good way through the story, and only at this stage does the full premise become clear.

Characterisation is purposefully vague and suggestive.  Indeed, the ‘hitman’ is barely sketched out – elements of his lingering smell provided with more description than the appearance and features of the man himself.  But this works perfectly with the story’s seedy atmosphere.  It makes the hitman that much more unnerving. Seemingly that much more deadly.

From the outset it’s pretty obvious that there will be a twist involved.  And it will undoubtedly come from the two stipulations that the hitman has with the deal.  Nevertheless, Moody keeps his cards close to his chest, and when the final twist to the story rears its head, its execution is near faultless.

It’s one hell of a dark and inherently seedy story that not only chills the blood but leaves a layer of invisible grime on the reader which only time can wash away.

The short runs for a total of 14 pages.

© DLS Reviews


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