Magazine Review: Raconteur – Vol. I, Issue II: A Suspenseful Literary Magazine

Magazine Title: Raconteur Vol. I, Issue II: A Suspenseful Literary Magazine

Authors: Erica Verrillo, Marian Kaplun Shapiro, Marian Blue, KB Ballentine, Jody Gerbig, Todd Mercer, Molly Thynes & Mark Towse

Editors: Tevis Shkodra, Michael Pietrzak, Kiernan Antares & Mary Jo Garrido

Publication Date: June 25, 2019

Available onAmazon as an eBook and as a print magazine

Indie Athenaeum Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


This is the second issue of Raconteur, which describes itself as a suspenseful literary magazine. It features five short stories of varying lengths, along with three poems. Each one is lavishly illustrated with an image that encapsulates the story or poem as well. From groundhogs to runners to a disturbing theater to a therapy session and an ordinary checkout at the grocery store, each tale will draw you into its world and keep you reading until you complete your imaginative journey. Read on to discover:

Erica Verrillo’s “They Shoot Groundhogs, Don’t raconteur 1They?” – A garden-loving grower of fruits and vegetables is vexed by a pesky groundhog who keeps eating everything she’s growing. So, what is she going to do about it? As the garden grower tries to capture it, the situation simultaneously gets more complicated and funnier as we see how each solution creates an additional problem. It’s humorous to see how our narrator’s opinion about the animal wavers from anger to almost empathy as well, with a perfect ending to this quirky tale.

Marian Kaplun Shapiro’s “Sunrise, In Black and White” – This poem presents vivid imagery with few words and a lovely and emotional twist to its narrative.

Marian Blue’s “See Jack Run” – This is the story of Jack and how he impacts the world around him. You see, he has an unusual problem: he has an unstoppable desire to run and feels he must indulge it, no matter where he is or what he’s doing, day or night. Why is this happening and how does it affect his life? This is a charming tale that observes this eccentric man with an unusual affliction, leading into an unexpected and inventive ending.

rac5K.B. Ballentine’s “Re-Creation” – This poem highlights little moments that are filled with personal meaning. Each one sincerely pulls at your heartstrings.

Jody Gerbig’s “Welcome to the Magic Waters Theatre” – Off on a retreat in an isolated cottage deep in the woods, a trio of authors find a run-down old outdoor theater. But what is it about this place that seems so off-kilter? It’s a creepy tale filled with lively moments of humor, surprises, and horror.

Todd Mercer’s “The Sexton After Ingenue Passes” – A man mourns his deep loss and takes a vacation. It’s a wistful poem about relationships, death, and processing all the emotions that surround this event.

Molly Thynes’ “The Therapist’s Guide to Unconventional Methods of Overcoming Shyness” – Emily is a woman who doesn’t like socializing and is getting therapeutic help. When the therapist praises her for some progress in her dating life, the reader sees exactly what that progress entails – and are surprised by the results! It’s an engrossing and electrifying tale of a shy woman who has unexpected reasons for this behavior. It also effectively demonstrates how therapy has helped Emily, but with a smart twist.

Mark Towse’s “She’s Dead” – A man is at rac3checkout in the grocery store, ruminating on something he sees when the unexpected happens! Thrown into chaos, the man is shocked but what happened here? It’s a startling story that throws your five senses into disarray and it all becomes clear by the unpredictable ending.

An illustration accompanies each story or poem, perfectly complementing the story it is about. These illustrations are beautiful, haunting, thoughtful and eerie. It successfully captures the story’s mood and brings my imagination to life. The graphics are also well laid out, colorful, engaging and pleasing to the eye.

This magazine intends to publish three times a year and given that this is its second issue so far, I think it’s off to a fantastic start so far. It’s a magazine that I can tell is filled with loving care and gives lavish attention to every detail packed into it. Each of the stories and poems held my rapt attention, had some deft twists and turns and varied in tone. From comedic to thoughtful to darker tales, it caused me to experience a wide spectrum of emotions.

canyons 33I was drawn to this magazine by an author whom I’ve read before, Molly Thynes. I enjoyed her story “Auntie_lena314” in “Tales from the Canyons of the Damned: No. 33” and based on the strength of that tale, I wanted to read more of her work. I’m glad I did, as I enjoyed her story here as well as the entirety of the magazine itself.

I look forward to more thrilling tales, evocative poems and fantastic illustrations from this magazine in the future.

If you found this review to be helpful to you, please click here to go to the review on Amazon. Then navigate to the bottom of this review and click on the “helpful” button.

Previous Indie Athenaeum book reviews about stories by Molly Thynes include “Tales from the Canyons of the Damned: No. 33”.

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