Richard Godwin: master short story writer, interviewer extraordinaire, soon-to-be-published novelist. (You can pre-order Apostle Rising, due out in March, here.) Awesome to have him at DBK today with his Top Five.
After much head scratching and re-reading of a plethora of great stories I have picked these five because they stand out individually. There are so many great stories out there it was hard to pick these. I also wanted to be eclectic, which is what Chris encouraged me to be when he asked me to do it.
The numbers are random, I hate league tables, I fed them into a permutational generator, so no one is first place, these are all equal.
1) AJ Hayes 'Savant'
Bill writes with an ease that may lull you into complacency. He knows a huge amount about literature and storytelling and this is obvious when you read him. This one grabs you by the balls and twists hard. He layers his narratives subtly and with a dexterity matched by few. He is able to play conflicting emotions off one another. I love this for its style and ambivalence.
2) Jodi MacArthur 'Pillow Talk'. Jodi has mastered horror writing and now has thrown down the gauntlet to many men on the crime scene. Watch out boys, this girl is coming to get you. She can hold your attention as she spoons your brains into a cooking pan. She unfolds her narratives with a sure hand. I loved this for its slow and decisive excavation of an inner horror.
3) Salvatore Butacci 'Peg In My Heart'.
Sal can muster so many forms of style it is impossible to list them all. He is always engaging, never dull and consistently humane and witty.
This story pegs you from the word go. It is about irretrievability and the way crime changes lives. It is told in Sal's assured style which captures both heart and mind.
4) Cindy Rosmus 'All Gone' the Original version. There is a story behind this story, an editor's re write, messing around around with something he evidently did not understand. Both versions are great but this is the better of the two. Cindy writes crackling electric prose. She never disappoints, she is the New Jersey Queen of crime and the nasty shock in the dark, her dialogue is always real and idiosyncratic to her characters. I loved this for its raw honesty and portrait of human despair.
5) Miss Alister 'Wasted Space'. Miss Alister is talented and subtle. Hugely so. She writes layered rich narratives that spin you on the head of a coin and let you land somewhere you never saw coming. She is versatile and cannot be pigeonholed and here she does crime as well as the best. There is so much more to her writing than a first glance reveals. I love this for its assured literary approach to the genre and its hybrid vision.