Barb Goffman is the “Queen of the Short Story.” ‘Don’t Get Mad, Get Even’ is a collection of fifteen short stories. Each story is a gem, beautiful and different. Each contains an interesting twist, some dark and some funny.

Ten of the stories have been published previously. Five of these have received nominations for awards including the prestigious Agatha Award, Macavity Award and the Anthony Award. Two have been nominated for multiple awards and “The Lord is my Shamus” won the Macavity Award in 2013. Two of the new ones are currently nominated for the 2013 Agatha Award, Nightmare and Evil Little Girl.

I liked the author’s comments at the end of each story. They gave me insight into the writer’s process and how she came up with the idea for each story. Some stories came to her right away and others ruminated in her brain for a long time. I enjoyed understanding how she interpreted each required theme.

While all of the stories were creative, one stood out above the rest – Nightmare, currently nominated for an Agatha Award. Barb Goffman said the idea of the story came to her in the middle of the night and she jumped up and wrote it.

Nightmare has a southern-gothic feel, reminiscent of Edgar Alan Poe. Like many nightmares, one has to figure out the meaning and the symbolism involved, which is what the main character in this story does. The description reads like poetry. “Rain pelted against the roof, loud as a thousand marbles spilling onto the floor.”

The ending left me with goose bumps. Normally, I just fly through a book, but I had to put it down after Nightmare and just think about what I had read. It had that impact.

You can also read my interview here with Barb Goffman.

Five stars out of five.


In accordance with the FTC guidelines for reviewers, I would like to clarify that this book was provided to me by the publisher free of charge.  I am not compensated by the author or publisher for my review.  All they expect is an honest review of the work.