Title: To Hell and Back Again With a Little White Dog
Author: E.M. Epps
Genre: Fantasty, Short Story
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Release Date: January 8th, 2013
Length: 65 pages
Geoffrey Keyes has hired magicians Morris and Cathleen Madison to rescue his impetuous stepdaughter Anastasia after her foolhardy trip to Hell goes (rather unsurprisingly) wrong. But there are so many things he doesn’t understand. Why has Anastasia gone to Hell at all? What, or who, is holding her there? What has a pomegranate got to do with blood sacrifices?
And most importantly–why do Mr. and Mrs. Madison insist on bringing their little white dog with them into Hell?
E.M. Epps has crafted a fun and imaginative short story that’s less about the plot than it is about the world. The setting is Edwardian-esque (or so it felt, to me) but magic is real and certain folks are trained magicians who can, among other unspecified things, walk between worlds. There’s a very sweet subplot story about family, mainly from the perspective of the step-father, that felt genuine. Overlaid on that was a melange of Greek mythology and a What Dreams May Come take on hell, and plenty of bad-manners and odd-man-out humor.
My biggest complaint about this story is that the ending felt rushed and anti-climactic. I wanted to see more of the world and its people, aside from the immediate plot. I wanted to keep those poignant family moments happening. I wanted more stories in the universe she’s so cleverly crafted here.