Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Bronx, Summer, 1971", by Steven Torres

From: CrimeSpree #35 (March/April 2010).

Ernesto and Celia Santiago, an elderly Hispanic couple living in a modest third-floor walkup, were brutally murdered on the hottest day of the year. What troubled Detectives Woods and Carver was the absence of a motive. It appeared that someone wanted something and tortured the couple to get it. Then Woods spots a picture that gives them a hint: Ernesto and Celia, their arms around a smiling young man. Ray Cruz, a notorious drug dealer.

Cruz himself shows up soon after, distraught to the point where even the cops know he's not faking. The Santiagos were his godparents. Now Woods and Carver have to work fast, because they're not the only ones after the killers.

I'm breaking one of our rules here ("thou shalt not review other members' stories") because I like this one so much. It's told with great economy, with characters sketched out in just a few strokes, but entirely believable. Steven is really good at using unsympathetic characters, or outright villains, as the protagonists of his stories (see his Viktor Petrenko stories for another example), and I understand that Ray Cruz may return in the future.


Steven T. said...

I agree with everything you said. It is, in fact, one of the great stories of all time...

Graham Powell said...

Uh huh, right. See, this is why WE HAVE TO HAVE RULES.