I specialize in reviewing Print-On-Demand (POD) published books for my website and Midwest Book Review. Please query for a review by email to hgunther234@hotmail.com.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Woodside Publishing Group
Genre: Fiction/Short Stories
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 9780615284064, $14.95, 216 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

“Milton’s Pickle - A seven-year-old genius develops a unique method to deal with his bully problems.

“Bearclaw at The Coffeecaker - Two damaged people find common ground and unexpected love over coffee and pastry at The CoffeeCaker.

“The Puppy Murders - A sick and dying puppy teaches fourteen-year-old Jim the meaning of responsibility and the value of truth and humility.

“The Brass Rail - Ray Martelli has lost everything of value to an alcohol addiction. He’s desperate to regain the love and respect of his wife and kids. Can he win?

“Rot Like Me - A teenage narcissistic rapist and murderer arrives with his family in Bells Grove, Fl. Enrolled in a new school, he scopes the chicks, but strange, malevolent supernatural forces have other ideas.

“Dear Daniel - In a letter to his surgeon son, a father admits to the brutal crime of murder.

“Hank Straker, SA - A retired sheriff contemplates suicide as the anniversary of his wife’s death approaches. He’s slapped awake by a late night intruder. ‘Why ain’t you at the senior’s mixer,’ he growls.”

For those of us not familiar with the slang term and title of this book, Screwing the Pooch, here are a few definitions: 1) to do something the wrong way, 2) to make a catastrophic error, and 3) to goldbrick–all negative behaviors, and it is this negative or dark side of life that these short stories have in common. All but one are about murder or death.

J. B. Bergstad is a gifted storyteller with a unique talent for saying a lot in a little space. His character-driven stories come to life quickly, richly and tightly. He doesn’t miss a beat and is an artist at his craft. If you enjoyed short stories by Stephen King or Ambrose Bierce, you will enjoy Screwing the Pooch.

Kaye Trout - October 12, 2009