Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Sins of Maynard Shipley by David Cranmer

If you haven't picked up the second issue of NEEDLE, you're missing out... and, to be honest with you, a loser. It's as solid as the first with a mix of established and newer authors. For an excellent roundup, check out Naomi Johnson's post at The Drowning Machine.

I'll focus on one particular story that I really liked, The Sins of Maynard Shipley by David Cranmer. Crime fiction writers are perpetually faced with the question, "Why does this person do what they do (kill, rob, use drugs, etc.)? Why don't they stay home on the couch watching Wheel of Fortune, eating snack cake after snack cake like the rest of us?" Usually the criminal's inspiration is money, or revenge, or envy, or some combination thereof.

But not Maynard Shipley. He's a nursing home caretaker (ha! that's a funny word in this context--he sure does take care of 'em) who kills old people for a simple reason: he hates them. I found this refreshing. It has to be the oldest (and probably, underneath other excuses, most real) reason for murder--the killer just doesn't want to live on the same planet as the other person.

Add in Cranmer's colorful prose, a cool twist and some heartbreaking details (like the cute, lovey old people couple that Shipley breaks up), and it makes for a great story.

On an unrelated note, here's what I'll be up to in the near future. Posts may not be as often because I'll be doing some novellas and short story collections, though I may mix in some individual short story reviews in between:

Simon Wood's short story collection WORKING STIFFS
Allan Guthrie's novella BYE BYE BABY
Whit Howland's novella HUEY DUSK
Debbi Mack's short story collection FIVE UNEASY PIECES


  1. Yeah, "Maynard" knocked me flat. A great outing from a great talent.

  2. Glad you enjoyed NEEDLE 2. I think Cranmer consistently delivers quality.

  3. I'm so glad that bastard Maynard Shipley has gone over so well. Thank you all for the kind words. Much appreciated.

  4. Rock on, DC. I'll be checking out BTAP's A Rip Through Time in the near future too.

  5. Maynard. Just a worker in God's Green Fields (well, okay, maybe Grey Fields)irrigating, tending and when needed, pruning a bit. So, what's not to like? One of the coolest stories in a very cool book.

  6. i'm in the queue here for praising David and his work. thanks for it. as for the forthcoming, the Guthrie is top drawer (overflowing from the top drawer perhaps)and the title 'Five Uneasy Pieces' is a work of art in itself. i look forward to hearing about all of them.