4 out of 4 stars
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"Environmentally Friendly" by Elias Zanbaka is a short story thrill-ride that packs a punch. The setting is on Hollywood Boulevard surrounded by environmental protesters. Sergeant Schaefer is a police officer motivated to make sure a flame throwing and chainsaw wielding criminal, known as the target, is able to complete his mission. The story has no set date that it takes place. There is a strong implication that it is set in the current time period or sometime in the future. According to my iBook app the story was 49 pages long.
The narrative unfolds at a fast pace, with the majority of the emphasis on physical movement. The details of the main plot are threaded throughout the action sequences and eventually reveal a clear picture of what is happening. There were a few times the action heavy storytelling became frustrating and difficult to decipher exactly what was happening. The confusion does work in the author’s favor because it helps make the short story a page-turner. The use of descriptions delivered a vivid image of the pulse pounding action and provide a lot of information without over explanation or the dreaded information overload.
The character Sergeant Schaefer is revealed through insightful inner monologue, split second decisions, and brief dialogue. His backstory is not discussed, but the reader gets enough information to determine that he is likeable. The target is a compelling character whose identity is revealed slowly. The side characters are mainly there to give the reader a clearer picture of Sergeant Schaefer.
There are few faults to be found in this exciting short tale. There are a couple of mixed up words such as, “welding” instead of wielding. The intense action can sometimes be overly descriptive. There was a confusing scene that did not have enough explanation because of too much action. Otherwise it was a very effective and exhilarating short story.
The end gave a sense of relief and nice moment of realization. There are a lot of unanswered questions that leave the reader with a sense of possibility and a desire for more. It could easily be expanded into a full book.
I rate this short story 4 out of 4 stars. It was a lot of fun and kept me guessing. I enjoyed the slow reveals that blended perfectly with the fast pace action. There was enough information given about the Sergeant Schaefer that I felt invested in his attempts at success. I recommend this to readers that enjoy fast pace thrillers.
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