Saturday, February 16, 2008

What Friends Are For by Russel McLean

The current issue of AHMM carries a literary treat. "What Friends Are For" is a story in Russel McLean's series of shorts concerning a Dundee PI named Sam. Sam used to be part of the police force, but now he fights for justice...literally. The series is one of my favorite short story series, ranking up there for me with G. Miki Hayden's Miriam and IJ Parker's Akitada series. Russel's stories are filled with rounded, human characters - no cartoon characters, just people who love and hate and care. It's what I love about the stories. This story does not disappoint.

In it, Sam's friend from his time on the police force has been arrested - a witness says he beat someone up, but the story doesn't convince Sam. He thinks his friend is being framed and he prowls about town trying to find the truth of the matter...and if it means stepping on someone's crotch to get the info he needs, he's the man to do it. But can he figure out the truth before his friend is brought before a judge, kicked off the force, sent to prison? In short, before the friend's life is ruined which is the apparent goal of someone in the shadows?

Take a look at the story. It is worth the price of the AHMM issue which, by the way, seems to have gone up a full dollar to $4.99. I'm hoping this is a special price to offset the huge rush of demand for an issue with a Russel McLean story and the price will go back down in the next issue...

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