Flash fiction is one of the most difficult forms to write. These are pieces, typically under one thousand words, a single scene, an epiphany. You basically have to distill a story to its essence: start in the middle, follow the arc, and end with a zinger.

The twenty-three fictions in Michael Parker's new book, Everything Then and Since, are picture perfect. The title comes from the story "Deep Eddy," one of the best, about how the future can hinge on a single word. Other standouts include "Never Mind," "Concession," and "I Got a Line on You," with its indelible image of a girl reaching out to touch a speeding train.

Highly recommended!