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I checked a book of short stories out of the library, primarily because it contains one of Neil Gaiman’s stories, but also because I was attracted to the cover.  The book is called “McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales” and it’s edited by Michael Chabon.  The cover is designed to look like an old-fashioned comic book and features an illustration from the cover of the October 1940 edition of Red Star Mystery Magazine.

“Closing Time” is the name of the story by Neil Gaiman that is contained within the book.  When I got part way into the story, I realized that I had read the story before, probably in one of Neil’s short story collections.  As I read it a second time, I was conscious of the fact that Neil pulls a fast one on the reader.  The story starts in first-person in one scene and then the story shifts to another scene and it’s still in the first person, only it’s a different person than the one from the beginning, which is not immediately obvious.  It’s an interesting effect and the sort of thing I like to try to pull off in my own writing.  It’s a good way to set up a surprise for the reader, but you have to use some careful slight of hand in order to manage it successfully.