Sunday, March 06, 2005

Validation by Stephen D. Rogers

Validation” by Stephen D. Rogers, Thrilling Detective, Spring 2005

What can I say about Stephen D. Rogers. The man is a short story writing machine, turning them out like clockwork. And so far every one I’ve read I’ve liked.

In “Validation” the main character is an unnamed PI that does pre-employment background checks. One of his clients has asked him to do a check on a janitor. That lit a small red light for our hero. Prior to this Javelin Networks HR Director, Andrea Cleig, had never asked for a check on anyone below senior manager level. When he calls her on it, she gives him a thin excuse. Because that’s what he does for a living, our hero hitches up his belt and gets to work. But he still wonders about the real reason for this assignment.

The janitor, John Beamer, had one year of college with good grades, before he dropped out to enter the world of physical labor for the next seven or so years. Everything he entered on his employment application checks out, but our hero delves deeper. He finds a secretary at the college John attended who remembers him. It seems that John left under a cloud after an incident at a dorm party involving him, two other guys, and a girl. The incident was hushed up by the college, but our intrepid PI winnows out the truth and the real explanation for his assignment.

Mr. Rogers has done his usual fine job with “Validation,” well-written and easy to read. He’s packed a lot into a relatively short story. Our hero feels a little used at the end, but after all, isn’t that what PI’s are for, to be used by the clients for their own ends?

In short, an enjoyable, quick read.