Shadows of His Past: The Past Returns
Reviewed by Marty Shaw for Reader Views (5/11)
I wavered between 3 or 4 stars for a little while, but finally decided “Shadows of His Past” fell just a little short of that fourth star because of some serious holes in the plot. The number one glaring plot hole was that it would have been a whole lot easier to just kill the main character. Sure, that wouldn’t have provided much of a story but there’s never a reason given for keeping the guy alive. The story was actually okay enough to ignore that little hurdle for the most part, but things come crashing down at the end, when the reader is asked to simply turn off their brain so that the ending will work. While I was genuinely surprised by the mastermind that was responsible for all of Dom’s misfortunes, I felt a little cheated when the bad guy’s identity was revealed because it just didn’t seem to make sense to me.
Dom, or Dominick as he’s later known, is a nice guy who winds up in the wrong place at the wrong time, but it later turns out that there’s apparently more behind his streak of extraordinarily bad luck. He gets beat up pretty bad by some thugs, which results in him losing his memory. As a man with no past, he slowly begins to build a new life. At this part of the story, I was presented with another problem. At first, Dom tells everyone he doesn’t remember his name, and then he seems to pluck the name Dominick Guanterri out of thin air. Why does this particular name pop into his head? It’s a mystery with no answer because the name is never explained.
“Shadows of His Past: The Past Returns” wasn’t a bad short story, and maybe being confined to 106-pages was the problem. I think Dom’s tale could have benefited from having a little more depth added to it but there wasn’t any room for the story to grow. Possibly because of this, there were too many pieces of the puzzle that had to be forced to fit, instead of simply sliding smoothly into place.