WHITE CATS CAN JUMP!  BUT BLACK CATS ARE SCARIER ON HALLOWEEN

Donner has this to say about his genre, “The writing of fiction and, in particular, horror and suspense, is truly art.”  He allows that not all readers have the time or “intestinal fortitude” for horror mega-epics that run to a thousand pages.  Thus, he has instead created short fiction that thrills, scares or shocks by brief but effective forays into the dark side.  From an unrepentant Jack the Ripper type who fastidiously records his killing methods, weapons and observations from a career in slashing people in “Once Upon A Diary,” a horrific joyride into the psyche of killers, to a pair of pets (cat and dog) who are instrumental in bringing their master’s killer to justice, to a psychotic woman who kills her male obsession declaring, “My love is brighter than the golden orange of the California sun,” these tales also have bathos–a mock, humorous heroism that gives readers the right kind of moral shield to take on the dark side.  It is key to Donner’s métier.

The insights and surprises in these stories are cries that come from visceral fear animating the living when shocked by the horrific.  They work like the most advanced night vision goggles that illuminate the heart of darkness.  The genre gladly welcomes the revelation of a true master in White Cats Can Jump!

“Evocative descriptions of characters and their chilling intentions make this horror story collection a thrill to explore.” ~ ForeWord Reviews

“In the ironically titled short-short story, “Love,” narrated by a well-dressed stalker, Donner proves he can deliver a creepy feeling in the space of just two and a half pages.”  ~BlueInk Review

Thrilling stories for animal lovers and those fond of the dark side

Fair warning: the author is a retired FBI agent with a 20-year background in undercover anti-narcotic and counter terrorism efforts, as well as an ivy leaguer and a lawyer. So he has not just played peekaboo with the dark side like most mystery writers; he was steeped in it for decades yet survived with his sense of humor and love of life intact.

Donner taps his experiences to illuminate the highs and lows of the human condition from atypical perspectives in a crisp writing style. For example, the 10-page “Once Upon a Diary” provides the entries from 7 people’s diaries for the same two-day period from a specific location in Pittsburgh. The three-page “Love” is so vividly disturbing it could be turned into a movie. “Vinny Plays God” gives insight into gangster ethics that you never get from movies or TV shows. Set in Santa Monica, “I Will Have You My Love” is one of the creepiest stories I have ever read. Locations for the stories are mainly in the Pacific Northwest, California and the Southwest.

Each story introduces the reader to unlikely heroes and villains, human and otherwise. All people, regardless of their socioeconomic status, race, gender preference, occupation, or age are fair game as intriguing characters with wide-ranging passions including fashion, writing, sports, taxidermy, hunting, philanthropy, ranching, hallucinogenic mushrooms, angel dust, drinking, and sex in various forms.

Law enforcement officers are humanized rather than stereotyped. Lawyers and pedophiles are vilified, while animals are honored. Not every bad actor gets his/her comeuppance, but most of them do in ways that are not subtle.

Fascinating details about guns, drugs, criminal investigation techniques, and the hidden motives of a human mind keep you turning the pages with curiosity until you reach the twist ending that never fails to disgust or delight. As I was reading, I kept asking myself, did this psychopath come from real life or the author’s imagination? Truth is stranger than fiction.

I suggest you read the 1-page conclusion first so you know where the author is coming from, including his sources of inspiration, motivation for writing, and a plug for all of us to take out our frustrations with life by writing short stories. Great idea!

~ Phyllis Strupp
Author, Brain Coach, MBA
Training brains to get better with age


amazon book review buttonAmazon Book Reviews
Brian Wealth
5/5 stars
July 15, 2017

Thrilling short stories for animal lovers and those fond of the dark side

Fair warning: the author is a retired FBI agent with a 20-year background in undercover anti-narcotic and counter terrorism efforts, as well as an ivy leaguer and a lawyer. So he has not just played peekaboo with the dark side like most mystery writers; he was steeped in it for decades yet survived with his sense of humor and love of life intact.

Donner taps his experiences to illuminate the highs and lows of the human condition from atypical perspectives in a crisp writing style. For example, the 10-page “Once Upon a Diary” provides the entries from 7 people’s diaries for the same two-day period from a specific location in Pittsburgh. The three-page “Love” is so vividly disturbing it could be turned into a movie. “Vinny Plays God” gives insight into gangster ethics that you never get from movies or TV shows. Set in Santa Monica, “I Will Have You My Love” is one of the creepiest stories I have ever read. Locations for the stories are mainly in the Pacific Northwest, California and the Southwest.

Each story introduces the reader to unlikely heroes and villains, human and otherwise. All people, regardless of their socioeconomic status, race, gender preference, occupation, or age are fair game as intriguing characters with wide-ranging passions including fashion, writing, sports, taxidermy, hunting, philanthropy, ranching, hallucinogenic mushrooms, angel dust, drinking, and sex in various forms.

Law enforcement officers are humanized rather than stereotyped. Lawyers and pedophiles are vilified, while animals are honored. Not every bad actor gets his/her comeuppance, but most of them do in ways that are not subtle.


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Grady Harp (HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER)
5.0 out of 5 stars
“His words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.”

February 23, 2015

Author Frederic Donner graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Industrial labor Relations and completed his law degree from the College of William and Mary Law School. After completing rigorous training, he was sworn-in as an FBI Special Agent at the FBI Academy at Quantico, Virginia. Agent Donner is a twenty-year veteran Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who has worked primarily in undercover capacities, combating narcotics and terrorism in cities around the United States and the world. He has several books of varying subject matter to his credit: ZEN AND THE SUCCESSFUL HORSEPLAYER, TO DIE TO SLEEP PERCHANCE TO DREAM. A BROKEN BADGE HEALED? and his collection of short stories WHITE CATS CAN JUMP! (BUT BLACK CATS ARE SCARIER ON HALLOWEEN) – described by the author as short stories of intrigue, horror, humor and mystery. In his introduction he offers the following admonition: `The tales I have written in this book are divergent and strange. Some readers will enjoy many of them, others may only locate one story of interest, but even if only one idea strikes a reader’s fancy, my job has been a success. When I was a younger pup, I devoured the fiction publications containing short stories from Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Stephen King. Fiction with twisted endings, heroes transformed to villains, with every reader unsure of the outcome. There are no easy outcomes in the repertoires of these stellar authors. I do not claim to have these writers’ skills, savvy, or flair for drama, but I do believe there are periodic insights and surprises in the stories you will read here. If even one of you is entertained, then my job is accomplished. “Enjoy the feast,” as an author colleague of mine would say. Just be wary of where you left that turkey carving knife and the long-handled–and sharpened–fork.’

Frederic’s stories vary greatly, but few are as arresting as the opening extended story `Once Upon A Time’ that offers seven disparate diary entries from people for days surrounding April 7, 2011. The people writing the entries are not identified, allowing the reader to fill in the source and the personality behind each entry. For example, entry #5: `Another day, Another soul. Even with all the help I have, being Satan is not easy. `Did you get that down, demon number 43?’ God is too busy with wars in Iraq, the Intifada, and famine in Africa. Sometimes with all the big stuff, the man upstairs misses all the fun we are having with the individual hells we wreak on earth. Just as an example, I am loving life (or death) in a US State called Pennsylvania right now. And it is not even close to over yet. I got ax murders, priest child molesters, drug dealers, murder, and mayhem. Talk about a society fallen from grace.’

Fourteen stories that range from scary to naughty to hilarious – a lot depending on the reader’s preconceived ideas, some of which will be drastically rearranged. At the end of the book Frederic reassures us, `It is okay to be scared once in a while, but it is better if you can scare others. Think of the classic example of ghost stories told around a campfire beginning to die into just glowing embers. Help keep the art of storytelling alive, even when you are talking about the dead. Boo!’ Twisted tales related with finesse and sure punch, this is a collection that has in turn shades of Isaac Asimov, Stephen King, and Brandon Massey while retaining his own trademark of understanding evil. Great collection!

~ Grady Harp

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White Cats Can Jump! But Black Cats are Scarier on Halloween: Short Stories of Intrigue, Horror, Humor, and Mystery
Frederic Donner
Xlibris, 177 pages, (paperback) $19.99,
9781479783847
(Reviewed: August 2013)

If the goal of horror writers is to make readers feel unsettled, Frederic Donner achieves this in his anthology, White Cats Can Jump! But Black Cats are Scarier on Halloween,a collection that delivers best when it comes to horror, while the elements of intrigue, humor, and mystery mentioned in the subtitle are more fleeting.

The author employs shifting points of view to good effect in “Once Upon a Diary,” in which journal entries by six different people show how strangers – and even a pet – become linked when a serial killer strikes. Pets also play key roles in “All Dogs Go to Heaven,” in which a cat and dog that witness a murder remain loyal, literally to the end.

In the ironically titled short-short story, “Love,” narrated by a well-dressed stalker, Donner proves he can deliver a creepy feeling in the space of just two and a half pages. Another disturbing — and disturbed — narrator is the pro-ballplayer with a taste for taxidermy in “I Will Have You, My Love.” The story is no less chilling for its predictability, as the ballplayer targets a woman to covet in the same manner as he does the pets he has preserved forever.

Donner’s horror is competently written. What keeps it from being superlative is his overemphasis on his disturbed protagonists at the expense of their victims. It takes sympathetic characters in jeopardy — characters readers really care about — to create memorable horror. Donner can deliver such a character, as we see in “G-String,” which opens a window on the sex work and love life of an exotic dancer and is more intriguing for the fact that it doesn’t depend on a horror element to draw the reader in. More characters like this in his horror pieces would be a plus.

As is, the book is not a major standout in the genre, but it is likely to satisfy those looking for another voice in horror fiction.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

white cats can jump book cover