The problem...and the thrill...of short stories is that the characters have to introduce themselves to the reader early and completely. The reader has to immediately descend into the world that the author has created, and be ready for a real jolt at the end. Kris Neri's chilling "Sentence Imposed" does just that:
"Call it fate, call it chanceeither way, it'll change your life. Sometimes you just find yourself staring into a crowd, your gaze floating aimlessly over a sea of faces you won't remember the instant you look awayuntil one person's eyes seem to grab hold of yours and you make a connection. You can't explain it, but somehow your life and that stranger's become bound together. When I made that link, it was with a little girl."
Whatever the subject, these writers know how to pull no punches. "Wifely Duties" is a Hitchcockian tale of a wife who plots to kill her husband, and ends up as a victim herself. "Push Comes to Shove" is a wrestler's nightmare. "Fatal Tears" is a classic sibling rivalry piece. A Deadly Dozen exposure is like taking in several episodes of "Night Gallery," with cataloging students catching a murderer in "Miss Parker and the Cutter-Sanborn Tables."