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Starers - Nathan Robinson I was provided a free copy of this story, from the author. In exchange I promised an honest review. (my first folks)

And I so wanted to love this. I could say that perhaps I am just not the target audience for this story, but in truth I loved the concept.

A man, Dylan and his brother return to Dylan’s home late, after a night of drinking. They do not notice an old man, standing at the bus stop, in the rain, motionless, until they get inside, when Dylan spots him from his window and wonders when the last bus is. Come morning the old man is still there, has been it would seem all night, staring right at Dylan’s house, standing in the rain. And now their neighbour stands naked as a jay bird, statue like and equally focused, blankly staring, at their house. More are coming.

I should have liked this more. On Goodreads there are 48 ratings, rounding out to an average of 3.92.

Thing is, I had a difficult time warming up to the characters in the story. They fell flat for me, I did not know enough about them individually and therefore I did not understand or even care about their actions, or the impact of same, on other members of Dylan’s household.

The dialogue seemed forced, not real, more in keeping with the good qualities of a trusted tool, like one might use to fill in the voids. Who talks like this?

How old is Lucy now? Harry asked with a scratch of his beard and a quizzical eyebrow.
She’s twelve, Lennon answered for him, shaking his head slowly, features screwing up in mild disgust.
Jesus! said Harry, I always thought she was older than that, I mean she looks older.
Cheers, Harry you’re a great help, that makes me feel a lot better, but I’d prefer it if you didn’t have designs on my daughter.
I never said that Dyl! I’m just saying she looks old for her age. I thought she was sixteen, y’know legal tender.
Dylan turned to his brother, are you going to punch him or am I?
Less of the legal tender talk, Hazza, alright? Dylan’s depressed enough as it is.

Is the world over? Kirsty whispered.
I don’t know. I don’t want it to be.
Me too. I feel . . . strange . . . sort of content. It’s weird, like, even though the world’s gone to shit, I’m happy I’m spending it with my family. I know things haven’t been great, but I’m happy for what I’ve had. No family is perfect; we’ve all got our creases.
You sound like you’re giving your own eulogy.
Kirsty smiled and placed the tea-light down near the opening. Moving onto all fours, she crept towards him, her head bowed to one side, stalking him cat like. She gave her head a nod towards a patched portion of the roof he’d fixed.
Would you like to fix another hole? Kirsty breathed coyly, slinking closer.
You didn’t just say that did you? It was cheesy, you don’t do cheese.
I did, and I want it, she purred.

The focus is kept on the occupants of Dylan’s house but I could not help but wonder about the perspective from the “starers” round bowl of earth.

Near the end it became easier to get caught up in the fury of events and I could feel, for the first time, some passion in the story.

I wanted more of that.