The Blue Heron
By Gene O’Neill
Dark Regions Press, 2012
82 pgs. Trade SC.
Gene O’Neill’s novella The Blue Heron provides plenty of thought and action in its mere 82 pages. The mystery of the blue heron, a rare bird appearing to a group of Marines on a reconnaissance mission in Vietnam, is set up beautifully. The structure of the story offers short bursts of action, and insight going from location to location and through flashbacks to the mission, which keeps the pace fresh and builds on the intrigue.
The story picks up years later when the members of the mission seem to be cursed—dying one by one in bizarre accidents, and in each case an origami blue heron is left at the scene. As the deaths continue, it is up to the remaining two men to solve the mystery before they become victims themselves.
O’Neill’s writing style is really the star of this piece. By combining third- and first-person narrative in his inventive structure, he gives us a blend of action and character that only a masterful writer can achieve.
—Sunni K Brock