Review of ‘Bitter Release’ by Scott Roche

I read Scott Roche’s short story, “Bitter Release” (found on Smashwords: and wanted to share my thoughts about it.

I’ve got to give kudos to Scott for releasing this story for sale. Posting your writing at all is an accomplishment. Having the faith to put it up on Smashwords and actively seeking reviews is fantastic.

My first criterion for a good story is one that gets my attention. There’s nothing worse than offering to do a review and having to work my way through the writing. This certainly fits in the good category. I enjoyed reading this story.

The big question you might ask is why?

Let me begin by saying Scott has put a lot effort into this story. The story reads much bigger than the short story that it is. He has done an admirable job with setting, and conflict. I found the characterization to be much less.

I know the name of the protagonist and I see what he has been doing, but I don’t really get a deep understanding of who he is. Scott does give us some tidbits from the protagonist’s past so we know some of his previous trauma and we know what he’s afraid of, but the story doesn’t go any deeper than that.

The story suffers a little from it but not as much as you might think. Scott has a lot of subtle nuances that I didn’t catch on the first read.

And let’s talk about the nuances. I’ve read the story several times now, and I’ve found something new in his writing each time. I love how he has made the protagonist’s reactions to events make sense with a bit of well-placed description. Not foreshadowing exactly, but effective.

The ending would suit a piece of flash fiction better than longer, in my opinion, but it is interesting. I didn’t feel cheated by it and it didn’t drop flat. It just went in a totally unexpected direction.

Is it a perfect story? No, but it is entertaining. As I said before, I’ve read it several times and I’ve found interesting things in every read.

Check it out.



  1. You rock! Thanks for this review.

    I really appreciate your honesty. I’m glad that the ending was unexpected and am most glad that it stands up to multiple readings.

  2. Great review Mike. I really liked the story as well, I’m trying to cut my chops on short stories. It’s hard to tell a complete story in a short amount of time, and still have it feel like a complete story. I think it’s helping me cut down on fluff. Great artwork on that one by the way 😉

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