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It was supposed to be one small job — the type where no one gets hurt and everyone gets paid. Except Jack knows that there’s no such thing as a small job and now his only chance of getting out of this alive are a killer with half a brain, a drug-addicted wheelman, and a crazed demolitions expert.


The Puzzle Box

*** Winner of the 2014 Prix Aurora Award for Best Short Fiction – English for my novella Ghost in the Machine. ***

It is a box that you can hold in the palm of your hand – but the contents will change your life forever.

There is no simple way to open it: no hinges, locks, or clasps. To some, its six surfaces gleam like polished gold. To others, it appears dull  and tarnished like a forgotten antique. For every person, the solving the box will be different, with life altering consequences.

“I have a great gift for you. Now I ask you: what do you want? What do you really want? You don’t have to tell me. It already knows.”

Albert Mallory, a down-on-his-luck archaeologist, begins to discover the true secrets of the Puzzle Box as revealed through four tales belonging to the the previous owners. As each story is told, the mystery of his own life is slowly unraveled until he is left with the biggest question of all: What’s Inside?

Table of Contents: (Note: Excerpts are 650K PDFs)

  • The First Piece of the Puzzle
  • The Awakening of Master March by Randy McCharles
  • The Second Piece of the Puzzle
  • Autumn Unbound by Billie Milholland
  • The Third Piece of the Puzzle
  • Angela and Her Three Wishes by Eileen Bell
  • The Fourth Piece of the Puzzle
  • Ghost in the Machine by Ryan McFadden
  • The Final Piece of the Puzzle


Book categories: Fantasy, Horror, and Novellas