An Accidental Murder And Other Stories

Praise, Reviews & Synopsis of Title Story

Short Story Collections By Diana

Appealing Tales of Struggle & Abuse in Suburban America

An Accidental Murder and Other Stories is a collection of connected short stories about navigating through trauma and overcoming life’s most challenging circumstances. Friends, wives, teenagers, and children struggle with abuse, loss, and self-esteem as they fight to maintain their dignity and exercise control over their lives.


Margie had just hung up the phone from what she thought would be a pleasant call to her mother. It didn’t go quite as she planned. Her mother told her that her sister Donna had just left her house fighting mad and she was on her way over to give Margie a piece of her mind. Her mother told her to try and be the peacemaker and to remember what Donna had gone through and that she just wasn’t right in her mind, ever since those beatings. This was always the excuse her mother made for Donna’s bad behavior. Margie told herself, “Who does Donna think she is, always telling me what to do. We’re not kids anymore.”

Margie heard the car screech to a stop in front of her rental on the first floor of a house she had recently moved into. She lived there with her husband, whom she planned on leaving. Margie opened the door and watched as her sister Donna stormed out of the car in a fury, slamming the door so hard that the papers on the dashboard flew into the air and fell to the floor. Donna rushed towards Margie screaming something about their mother. Margie was so used to her sister’s rants that her words rolled off her back. Margie’s embarrassment about her sister’s behavior began a long time ago; she tried to manage it as best as she could. By now the neighbors on the street were watching the scene with outstretched necks. Mrs. Costa, who owned the house and lived upstairs with Mr. Costa, opened the window and stuck her head out to make sure she didn’t miss anything. Margie heard Mr. Costa yell to his wife to get back into the house; the window shut, Mrs. Costa disappeared.

Praise For An Accidental Murder and Other Stories

"The characters in "The Little Black Box" are all solid and compelling... The husband... is a good supporting character with some strong idiosyncrasies, an ongoing hook for readers... wonderful descriptive passages in Blind-Sighted- very good visuals of people and place. The characters are all well-drawn and... seem realistic in the story. The dialogue sounds natural and unique... real conversation between real people ... readers will be easily drawn into the story."

-- Mike Foley, Writer's Review

"With generally spare, visual language, Diana Grillo's stories depict simple circumscribed lives that belie the complicated pain and anger that fester underneath. The characters and their environments depict the power struggles and shifts that occur over time in families; the feelings of entrapment; and the streetwise survival skills that sometimes allow for freedom...The "tear" examined under a microscope aptly describes the totality of this very special collection."

-- Ginger E. Benlifer, Ph.D., Psychologist

BookTrib Review

...The challenge of a good short story is the ability to convey complicated ideas and feelings to the reader in a limited amount of pages. Diana Grillo, author of An Accidental Murder and Other Stories, manages to easily draw sympathy from readers for her struggling characters, diving straight into the troubled heart of a variety of family conflicts. These short stories take readers to uncomfortable and tragic places, often focusing on domestic turmoil in the 1960s, a turbulent time of war and social inequality.

While public friction in the community continued to spike with the Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam War, domestic violence festered behind closed doors, an issue more private but perniciously present in many households. Giving amplified voice to all the victims of this gross injustice, Grillo tackles the challenging topics of physical abuse, emotional manipulation, adultery and poverty powerfully in her debut collection...

Amazon Reviews

Having read a compilation of David Sedaris' favorite short stories, I am now very open to reading a non-novel. I just finished Diana Grillo's new book of short stories and loved it. These are wonderful and real words coming from a real person who lived a real life. Interesting stories that keep the reader reading. Growing up in the Northeast is both humbling and, well, not all that easy. Diana's words come from the heart. They are honest. She doesn't try to make herself look like anything that she was not. Diana's book is a book of short stories growing up in suburban NYC among the children of the leaders of industry, Larchmont, NY.

- M Sullivan

Through a series of well-written vignettes, Ms.Grillo captures the feelings and fantasies of a girl growing up abused and neglected in suburban America. She introduces us to events and people that impacted the life of both the young girl and the adult woman. These include a brutal, cheap father who repeatedly beat her and denied her and her family necessities as well as pleasures; a neurotic mother who blabbed the girl's personal business to virtually everyone she knew; a crooked first husband and a work-avoiding, spoiled-brat second one. This sadness was sometimes tempered by friendliness in others (a kind landlady, a polite gangster, several sensitive friends and colleagues), but the brutality that took a toll on her characters is undeniable. While written in both the first and third person (using different names), it is obvious to any reader that this journey was entirely personal, and it is a marvelous trip for the reader to take.

-Larry Lewis

This is a very impressive collection of stories that come to life on every page. The content is relevant to the present climate of the "Me too " movement and takes you directly into the feelings and emotions of the characters. This is the talent of this author, who has written stories of life events that are both interesting and thought-provoking. This is a must-read!

- Judith Smith

This is a terrific book of short stories, both poignant and timely. Ms.Grillo has given a voice to the millions of people who have suffered abuse. By sharing these stories, she empowers us all. She also gives us hope because the characters are always able to overcome their abuse and are able to move forward in a constructive manner.

- Lynn

What a great collection of heartfelt stories. You feel like you’re living the same experience as the author creates. It leaves you wondering fact or fiction only you can decide.

- Jennifer Strazdes

This simple but profound collection of stories should appeal to most women. They are timeless tales about issues that have faced many women over the years. When I was reading Mr. Anderson, I identified with the main character in the story. All of the stories had their own special appeal, but I think An Accidental Murder stayed with me the longest afterward. This is because the author managed to create the same cognitive dissonance in her reader that she created in her main character in the story. I hope Diana Grillo continues to bring us more stories. She definitely has the talent for it.

- Anonymous