Monday, November 12, 2012

"Knife Fight" by Joel Goldman

Originally published in the Mystery Writers of America anthology The Prosecution Rests and now available for Amazon Kindle, "Knife Fight" is engagingly told by defendant Travis Runnels, a previously convicted drug dealer, now on trial for the fatal stabbing of Diego Hernandez.

The story unfolds as Travis meets with public defender Alex Stone and follows her performance in court. When the case turns against Travis, he accuses Alex of using what he's told her in confidence to pursue her own agenda.

Former trial lawyer Goldman so enjoyed writing Alex Stone, he expanded her into a novel series, the first of which, Stone Cold, is due out next month.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

"The Big O" by Vicki Hendricks

From: A Hell of a Woman: An Anthology of Female Noir ed. Megan Abbott, Busted Flush Press, 2007

If you're a fan of Hendricks's sexy noir novels as I am, the title of this story may fool you, too. "The Big O" refers to Florida's Lake Okeechobee, where protagonist Candy flees, trying to provide a better life than her year-old son, Chance, would've had with his abusive father.

True to noir, Candy lands in another abusive relationship with trailer park owner Jimmy. As a a hurricane bears down, Candy hatches a plot to kill Jimmy and steal his stash of drug money. Just right for a hot summer afternoon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

His Daughter's Island by Brendan DuBois

The current Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (July 2012) has this nifty story by past master Brendan DuBois. DuBois has taken home Barry and Shamus awards and been nominated several times for Edgar awards, so the story was never going to be a bad one, but this one was more than competent; it was touching.

Zach Ford is a father whose daugther died on a private island in the middle of a giant lake. She was invited to a party by the son of the richest man in town and who could resist the lure of the swankiest address in the state? Some alcohol, a pill slipped to her, and then she's no more. That's it. An accident, the coroner will say, and the father of the rich boy slips his son out of the country. What can her father do? How can he even begin to seek Justice for his daughter if the law refuses to be on his side? And how can he get closure without Justice?

Want to know how he goes about things? Get a copy of the story.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Shanks Commences by Robert Lopresti

(Cough. Cough. Clear away the cobwebs...)
It's been a while, but here's a review. A fine story by one of my favorite storytellers, Robert Lopresti - "Shanks Commences." If you don't know Shanks is Lopresti's series character - a mystery writer who solves mysteries he comes across/stumbles over. In this case, the stumbling happens on a college campus. Shanks is there to receive and honorary degree, give a commencement address, and, most importantly, donate some of his books to the school's library. The librarian had been a professor - gave Shanks a D in English and looks down his nose at the man now regardless of Shanks' success as an author. Lots of people might want him dead. And dead is how he's ultimately found.

Is Shanks a suspect? Well, he has to be at first, but don't worry. He's more into helping to uncover the real killer. And with a witty repartee with his wife, and some smart alecky remarks to the official detective in charge of the investigation, this is exactly what he does. In any event, this is a humorous story in the current Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.

Note also that Lopresti is a college librarian himself...

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

"Remaindered" by Lee Goldberg

From: Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, August 2001.

Thriller writer Kevin Dangler—whose second and third books sank under the weight of bad reviews—meets Megan, an alluring librarian whose attention entices him into a night of passion.

When Megan proves eager to spread the news of her night with the married Kevin, he snaps and inadvertently beats her to death. Luckily finding a book on forensics among Megan's shelves, Kevin meticulously cleans up the evidence of his crime, but one detail does him in.

"Remaindered" shows off Goldberg's experience in publishing, his wry sense of humor, and the attention to detail that serves him well as author of the Monk tie-in novels. The story is available as a free Kindle download this week only. The ebook includes a link and password to watch a 20-minute short film based on "Remaindered", directed by Goldberg.