The Phantom Glare of Day simply didn’t work for me. The individual stories, while they showed potential, didn’t deliver a cohesive reading experience. I felt like the author jumped around with story elements, which left me wondering what I had missed.


About The Book

Publication Date: November 1, 2022

In this trio of novellas, three game young ladies enter into dangerous liaisons that test each one’s limits and force them to confront the most heartrending issues facing society in the early twentieth century. The Phantom Glare of Day tells of Sophie, a young lady who has lived a sheltered life and consequently has no idea how cruel public-school bullying can be. When she meets Jarvis, a young man obsessed with avenging all those students who delight in his daily debasement, she resolves to intervene before tragedy unfolds. Mouvements Perpétuels tells of Cäcilia, a young lady shunned by her birth father. She longs for the approval of an older man, so when her ice-skating instructor attempts to take advantage of her, she cannot resist. Not a month later, she realizes that she is pregnant and must decide whether or not to get an abortion. Passion Bearer tells of Manon, a young lady who falls in love with a beautiful actress after taking a post as a script girl for a film company—and is subsequently confronted with the pettiest kinds of homophobia.



The Review

Three seemingly unrelated novellas are packaged together by author M. Laszlo to create The Phantom Glare of Day.

The first installment, titled “The Ghost of Sin,” takes place in London during World War I. The main character, Sophie, spends the first part of the story fascinated by a young poet named Jarvis, who apparently has pent-up anger as a result of being bullied. The second part of the story pertains to Sophie’s encounter with a young artist who wants to be rid of her left leg, so she has it removed.

The second story, titled “Mouvements Perpétuels,” is also set in London during the same time period. This story features a young ice skater named Cacilia, who is pregnant by her much older skating instructor. She faces the difficult decision of whether to have an abortion. Once she makes a choice, she then has to live with the consequences.

The final installment, titled “The Daughters of Lilith,” shares the same place and time period as the other stories. The focus is on a closeted lesbian named Manon who becomes fixated on an actress. There’s a parallel drawn between homophobic behavior and the intolerance Gentiles displayed toward Jews.

While I know that authors have a purpose behind their writing, it’s usually easy to identify. Being able to categorize a story into a genre allows readers to determine whether the tale will be appealing. For example, I personally don’t care for cozy mysteries, so a title in that genre would be passed over.

With these stories, both individually or considered as a whole, there did not appear to be an easily identifiable purpose. An argument could be made that the three novellas focus on issues that still have relevance today, but I’m not convinced. While there’s a hint of the paranormal, it’s not enough to classify this collection as such.

The Phantom Glare of Day simply didn’t work for me. The individual stories, while they showed potential, didn’t deliver a cohesive reading experience. I felt like the author jumped around with story elements, which left me wondering what I had missed.

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About The Author

M. Laszlo is the pseudonym of a reclusive author living in Bath, Ohio. According to rumor, he based the pen name on the name of the Paul Henreid character in Casablanca, Victor Laszlo.
M. Laszlo has lived and worked all over the world, and he has kept exhaustive journals and idea books corresponding to each location and post.

It is said that the maniacal habit began in childhood during summer vacations—when his family began renting out Robert Lowell’s family home in Castine, Maine.

The habit continued in 1985 when, as an adolescent, he spent the summer in London, England. In recent years, he revisited that journal/idea book and based his first work, The Phantom Glare of Day, on the characters, topics, and themes contained within the youthful writings. In crafting the narrative arcs, he decided to divide the work into three interrelated novellas and to set each one in the WW-I era so as to make the work as timeless as possible.

M. Laszlo has lived and worked in New York City, East Jerusalem, and several other cities around the world. While living in the Middle East, he worked for Harvard University’s Semitic Museum. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio and an M.F.A. in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York.

His next work is forthcoming from SparkPress in 2024. There are whispers that the work purports to be a genuine attempt at positing an explanation for the riddle of the universe and is based on journals and idea books made while completing his M.F.A at Sarah Lawrence College.


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April 6: Harlie’s Books – review


Amy Wilson
Amy Wilson
My name is Amy W., and I am a book addict. I will never forget the day I came home from junior high school to find my mom waiting for me with one of the Harlequin novels from my stash. As she was gearing up for the "you shouldn't be reading this" lecture, I told her the characters get married in the end. I'm just glad she didn't find the Bertrice Small book hidden in my closet. I have diverse reading tastes, evident by the wide array of genres on my Kindle. As I made the transition to an e-reader, I found myself worrying that something could happen to it. As a result, I am now the proud owner of four Kindles -- all different kinds, but plenty of back-ups! "Fifty Shades of Grey" gets high marks on my favorites list -- not for character development or dialogue (definitely not!), but because it blazed new ground for those of us who believe provocative fiction is more than just an explicit cover. Sylvia Day, Lexie Blake, and Kristin Hannah are some of my favorite authors. Speaking of diverse tastes, I also enjoy Dean Koontz, Iris Johansen, and J.A. Konrath. I’m always ready to discover new-to-me authors, especially when I toss in a palate cleanser that is much different than what I would normally read. Give me something with a well-defined storyline, add some suspense (or spice), and I am a happy reader. Give me a happily ever after, and I am downright giddy.


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The Phantom Glare of Day simply didn’t work for me. The individual stories, while they showed potential, didn’t deliver a cohesive reading experience. I felt like the author jumped around with story elements, which left me wondering what I had missed.3-STAR REVIEW: THE PHANTOM GLARE OF DAY by M. Laszlo