The Shades series of short stories has produced some gems, and the offshoot series, Sharp Shades, seeks to make these stories more accessible to those who find reading less interesting or that much harder.
Wrong Exit, by Mary Chapman, is one such book. I found it flowed quite eloquently, and gave the bare bones of the story. There are only 64 pages, with a small handful of them featuring black and white sketch-style artwork. The line spacing is large and the text itself is well spaced out. Were it to be regular size print, as you would expect in a novel, then I imagine you'd probably scrape 30 pages or so, maybe not even that many.
The story itself is quite a well conceived one. Siblings Grace, Adam and Ruby find themselves stranded in the car while mum goes to get some petrol from a garage that can't be more than 100 yards away. However, it's foggy, and when mum doesn't come back for a while, worry dictates they go and find her. However, somewhere along the way they take a wrong turn, and what Chapman essentially does is take them into an alternate world where things are sort of the same, geographically, but people are different, as are houses. They encounter Dave, who is the only survivor of a flood, and try to coax him back to their 'world'.
It's quite a strange story, but as the pages are limited, it just gives you the bare bones and makes no fuss about the reality behind it all. I couldn't really see any hidden messages or anything, but just figured it to be a quirky and different type of sci-fi. There is a very slight element of peril and eeriness about it, but again, due to the shortness, nothing really materialises in terms of emotion that you get from the book.
I was a little disappointed, as I felt that I wanted to let the scenario spook me a little, but as it was a story that had been revamped in an easier way to read, I wasn't surprised by it. I doubt I'll seek out the longer original version - the story was good, but not so much that I'd want to feel if there was any emotion from getting deeper into the tale. I wouldn't say it's suitable for kids, but younger readers may find it a bit more suspenseful than an adult perhaps would.
Wrong Exit is well written by Mary Chapman, but as it's so brief it completely loses the potential to be eerie or ominous. Danger is swiftly dealt with and the next part of the story entered into before you know it. Wrong Exit is currently available from amazon.co.uk for £2.99 as part of the Sharp Shades series. A decent read, but nothing special.