Saturday, December 13, 2008

"Oil Slick" by Jay Brooks

From: Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, March 2009

Brooks's first published story follows a con man looking to bilk big money from ex-NFL player Andy Belton in an oil drilling scam. Little does he know Belton is running a con of his own. Tightly told and surprising.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"Babs" by Scott Phillips

From: Las Vegas Noir ed. Jarret Keene & Todd James Pierce. Akashic Books, 2008.

From the author of The Ice Harvest comes the story of Tate, a good-natured pothead originally from Kansas who, as a favor to his friend Skip, agrees to pick up some crystal meth from Skip's friend Babs, and bring it back to L.A. Babs, described by Skip as "a stripper", is nothing like Tate expects. Falling a little in love with her, he agrees to back her up retrieving the meth from a dealer.

I'm not a fan of first-person present-tense narrative as a rule, but the style works here to set up Tate's sensibilities. I was as disarmed by Babs as he was, even as I realized Tate was getting in over his head.