Outskirts Press (2020)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (01/21)
“Prix Fixe,” is composed of three short stories of fantasy and suspense which the author, E.Z. Reier serves up as a delicious meal.
The first course, which would be the hors d’oeuvres, is titled “Expensive Thoughts.” In this story the protagonist is a man desperate to give his fiancé the perfect wedding. Unfortunately, when the nuptials draw close, he does something wrong and gets hit with a huge fine. Rather than accept it, he decides to go to court and fight it. Unfortunately, the technology that got him in trouble, is still working against him and he finds himself fighting a losing battle.
The second course, which would be the entrée, is titled “Eternal Dreams Inc.” In this story, a young man struggles to function and work in the mundane world, when his true passion is his music. Coming from a family of wealth, he takes on a job within the family business, which requires the least amount of responsibility. The company he works for is Eternal Dreams, Inc. All of his free time is spent on his music, until he meets a special woman. Unfortunately, his music takes precedence even over her, and he makes a non-negotiable deal with his band. This deal is worse than if he would have sold his soul.
The third course, which would be the deserts, is titled “Beautiful Memories. In this tale, a down on his luck alcoholic has lost everything due to his addiction. Having gone from wealth to poverty, he works as a cashier at a grocery store. Struggling from the rejection of teenage son, he accidentally wanders into a special place that sells special memories in the form of baseball memorabilia. Hoping it isn’t too late, he makes a purchase and then sets out to try to redeem himself.
Intrigued by the title, I looked up the definition of “prix fixe.” I learned that it is French for “fixed price.” In the culinary world it is a meal consisting of several courses offered at a fixed price. Reier adds a creative touch to his three stories by offering them in the form of courses. From the appetizers to the main dish and then on to desert, he delights his readers with each course.
I found the writing to be well done, especially because Reier captured my interest right away with each short story. The protagonists in each story are flawed in some way, and their lives are impacted by the choices they make. Science fiction technology influences two of the tales and the third has a touch of magic. The stories are not connected, yet they still left me with similar feelings of poignancy after I read each one. I really enjoyed “Prix Fixe,” and I highly recommend it to readers who enjoy a touch of fantasy in their stories.