Heartbreaks & Half-Truths: 22 Stories of Mystery & Suspense Edited by Judy Penz Sheluk

Jul 4, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of of the anthology, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

Heartaches come in all shapes and sizes with truths, half truths, or no truths at all, but are they filled with good intentions or mired in felonious revenge? Heartbreaks and Half-truths offers twenty-two delicious tales to turn heartbreaks into a way forward or a way six-feet under. But however it is served, it is always entertaining!
—Kathleen Costa, Kings River Life Magazine

Heartbreaks & Half-Truths earns 5/5 Karmic Endings…Entertaining Wows!
I personally love collections: pins, movies, cookies, of course, and short stories. Short story collections afford me a marvelous opportunity to enjoy a variety of authors, many new to me, all at one time as well as being exposed to a variety of writing styles. These twenty-two shorts, edited by friend and author Judy Penz Sheluk, offer a glimpse into each author’s interpretation of the book’s theme “heartbreaks” and “half-truths.” From the East coast to the West, from Canada to the UK, and from Argentina to Australia, each author brings an entertaining style and cleverness easily capturing a readers interest, and maybe causing a few “leave the lights on” nights.

Each of the stories are rich with descriptive language, some first-person others third-person narratives, along with dialogue that sets tone and emotions and illustrates personalities. Karma is a silent character in many of the stories providing readers the sense of justice served…although not always in the way one would suspect or hope. Readers might clearly see the direction of the drama, but so many stories will make you audibly “Wow” at the surprise revelations. The ebook version includes “The Lineup” with links to author’s or publisher’s website or Facebook pages for readers to get more information about your favorites. I highly recommend this collection!

Burning Desire by KM Rockwood—Roger’s plan to use his fiancée’s inheritance to pay off his considerable debts has been thwarted, and his Aunt ReGina’s plans to show her support includes an Origami bouquet. Not what he expected.

The Devil’s Club by Peggy Rothschild—Visitors reviving the past is what Jesse hoped to avoid in the snowy landscape outside Fairbanks, but the confrontation might be just what she needs.

Blackjack Road by John M. Floyd—Dave has lost all he’d love…wife and now a son. So, on a pleasant September afternoon with one shiny bullet in his gun, he contemplated life. Then a stranger shows up, “Name’s Anderson…”

The Greatest Secret by James Blakey—Zlotnick is the one man in a one-man firm hired for the typical missing persons and such, but his meeting with Mr. DiMeglio, recently acquitted, is much more than karmic justice…it’s trouble.

So Long by Edward Lodi—Messages…all messages, some good, some helpful, some disturbing, and Sarah Saunders hears them all, from her bed, unable to move, just as “Doc” arranged. “…So long.”

Afterlife by Kate Flora—Ida, now alone since Hal has passed away, sits at her front window admiring the busy wharf where lobstermen deftly tend to their jobs, often shirtless, but still relaying all she sees to Hal. But in “Red” and “Black,” as she calls them, she sees trouble she can’t dismiss.

Tongor of the Elephants by Buzz Dixon—Old movies are often the most intriguing, but this short film, never before seen by audiences is only a small frame in the whole story. The “behind-the-scenes” tale gives new meaning to karma!

The God Complex by J.A. Henderson—“Sonja” is a computer, and Murphy, convicted of a double homicide, is the perfect psychopath for the project.

For Elizabeth by Christine Eskilson—He fell hard for Elizabeth when they were in high school, and over the years, he has been her buddy, confident, sidekick, and friend. But, where do you draw the line?

See You in Court by Robb T. White—Trey was a popular, yet mediocre, lawyer, but several miscalculations, client threats, and an ethics slap has waned his interest. But, can he be redeemed with a renewed sense of conscience?

In the Halls of Mercy by Rhonda Eikamp—When the doctor becomes the patient…well, at least that was the initial thought of the “not all oars in the water” residents of Mercy Clinic. But, will anyone believe the awful truth from one who has trouble with reality?

Near Warrenton by Sharon Hart Addy—Sometimes the kindest thing to do is nothing, especially when dealing with the past and finding ways to live in the present. Amanda just wanted a little, but a little may be too much.

Exposure by Tracy Falenwolfe—Accused husband, wife’s alibi, but the whole case stinks. Ex-cop Dax and his wife/partner disagree about getting involved since the past keeps rearing its very complex head.

Living One’s Own Truth by Paula Gail Benson—Like mother…like daughter? It is difficult to fathom the depths by which one person, lacking fully in honor, can affect so many others. [Enter Karma.]

Deep Freeze in Suburbia by Susan Daly—Reveling in her successful bid as a member of the Canadian Parliament and the Minister of Families and Seniors, Dina Calder is confronted with her past…a haunting dream almost thirty years ago. Chillllly!

The Angel of Maastricht by Chris Wheatley—It was a horrific murder sensationalized in the tabloids, and the conviction of the boyfriend seemed closure. Twenty-five years later, a reporter hopes to revisit the details.

Pink Hearts Pierced by Arrows by Joseph S. Walker—Her mother made Crystal promise to not let any man treat her as badly as her father had treated her. So, when the issue arises for her close friend, does she have the same advice?

Deadly Cargo by Blair Keetch—Planning a Murder? Sarah’s ambition had become more of an annoyance, so the plan seemed perfect, and then I could do what I’d like and when.

Ugly Fat by Steve Liskow—When he leaves with his girlfriend, Molly, as his wife, has a garage sale. Connie sympathizes noting her reaction to her boyfriend’s infidelity was to lose weight.

Checkmate Charlie by Gustavo Bondoni—Charlie is a computerized gaming system ready to play, but Mother, whose company he enjoys, is unaware his connection to the mindnet allows him to respond to her marital dilemma…”No wait, I can help you…”

The Short Answer by James Lincoln Warren—“Sleuths to the Stars” is their motto, but shabby is their persona. So why did Mrs. Gilda Weatherford, the gorgeous, obviously wealthy, woman, choose them to help her?

Goulaigans by Judy Penz Sheluk—He spies an abandoned canoe in an area where only a burned down property, ripe with gruesome incidents of mayhem, exists. He tells Tuck and learns his ex-wife, now Tuck’s, left him, so how did she happen to wash up on the shore? Superior DOES give up her dead.

“Even the best laid plans can go awry, and with these well-thought out mysteries and ‘I didn’t see that coming!’ short stories, you get to enjoy it twenty-one times. Different styles, different settings, different murderous intentions, but all are entertaining, intriguing, and just plain fun.”
—Kathleen Costa, Kings River Life Magazine

I strongly recommend book one, The Best Laid Plans, also a collection of 21 short stories of mystery and suspense and edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. Check out my Kings River Life review (Issue 7/6/19) The Best Laid Plans and pick up your copy on Amazon for only $1.99. Along with book two, it’s an excellent weekend read!

To enter to win either an ebook copy of Heartbreaks & Half-Truths, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “heartbreaks,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 11, 2020. US only, and must be 18 or older to enter.am You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode goes up next week.

You can use this link to purchase this book from Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying year 2 of retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband of 26+ years.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Many thanks for posting and the fabulous review. FYI The Best Laid Plans is no longer on sale for 1.99 (ended July 1). Also you can find Heartbreaks FREE on Kindle Unlimited. Or in paperback.

  2. Sounds like a good anthology. Count me in!

  3. Looks like something I want to read. Shared on Facebook!

  4. So pleased to have a story in this fun anthology.

    Thanks for the detailed review–if I didn’t already have my copy, this would make me want to get it.

  5. These sound like fun stories
    of heartbreak and love gone
    wrong. Love to try it.

  6. We have a winner!


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