| This is my review of Shirley Suspicious, as requested. Remember that this is my opinion only. Although I have done my best to be honest and accurate in the points made, I am not infallible, make no claim to be a professional critic and how you receive it is entirely up to you. I am honoured that you asked me to review the story.
Initial Impression: I was pleasantly surprised by my first reading. The realisation that it was a "two views of the same event" story made me fear for its future (it's a trick that has been done a few times, rarely successfully). In reading it, however, I understood why you had done it in this way and have to agree that it increases the impact and power of the story. Very well done indeed.
Title: Unsure about the title. Was "Shirley suspicious"? I don't think she was. Oliver certainly wasn't, having found an excellent way to avoid the guilt of what he had done. It may be worth having another think about a fitting title. Something as blunt and straightforward as "Jennifer's Death" may be better preparation for what follows.
Content: This is a marvellous tale, told with great skill and understanding. Like all good short stories, it hides its sting in the tail until the very end, surprising the reader even as the narration draws to a close. I love the detail and depth of the feelings explored in the piece - a rare thing indeed in a short story. Both versions of Oliver's and Shirley's histories are well told, without any preference for one side or the other being shown by the writer. Most importantly, I am impressed at the imagination that has produced the plot and devised a way to tell it to greatest effect.
Style: Your style is largely very clear, easy and attractive to the reader. Just occasionally you get too involved with explaining something and sentence construction becomes too complex, leading to confusion for the reader. For example, take this passage: "My only hope was that Oliver would not eventually abhor me the way Tyrone did for just being myself. My tensions faded away when he walked up to me one day with great alacrity in his eyes and said something that I least anticipated. "I need to end everything with Jennifer", he said. I confirmed with him to make sure that he was talking about the end of the marriage and not her life, but I was wrong. I brought up the agreement between the couple in case they get divorced, but I did not expect Oliver's reaction."
The language in this paragraph is a bit odd. The word "abhor" is probably too strong in the context. "Hate" would be sufficient, I think, or even "despise". "I confirmed with him..." is strange, almost too official a process for what Shirley was doing. It's probably better to avoid the word and just say, "I questioned him..." Another odd word is "alacrity" in "with great alacrity in his eyes". Merriam-Webster defines it as "cheerful readiness" which, I think, is both hard to detect in a look and goes against the tone of your story. Something a bit more cautious may be appropriate - the guy has decided on murder, after all. Be aware, too, of the words that begin each sentence. You end the paragraph with a flurry of sentences all starting with "I". On rare occasions, such repetition can provide emphasis to an important point but, generally, it should be avoided as it can lead to tedium.
I know that I am the worst offender in my next point but this also makes me more aware of it. Don't try to squeeze too much meaning into a sentence. Two sentences are easier to read when things get complicated, rather than a longer sentence in which it's possible to get lost.
Flow/Pace: Flow is good, everything introduced in a logical order that does not confuse the reader. Pace is interrupted sometimes by explanations of the more complex emotions and events but this is necessary and not too intrusive.
Suggestions: I think I've dealt with this earlier. Just one thing: this is a great story, well told and effective. Polish it a little and you'll have a masterpiece.
Overall Impression: A well-planned and skillfully-written tale. I enjoyed it immensely.