Sunday, September 25, 2011


Anybody keeping up with this zine knew long before it came out that this would be one kick ass collection.

Edited by Keith Rawson, Jimmy Callaway and Cameron Ashley, Crime Factory: The First Shift scorches the earth from start to finish.

I enjoyed every story, but here are a few that stood out...

"Stinger" by Dennis Tafoya. Holy fuck, talk about starting out right. A classic noir tale of a woman who gets dragged down deeper and deeper. And the last paragraph is simply excruciating. Like a third-degree burn, you won't be forgetting this one anytime soon.

"Of Course You Realize, This Means War," by Jimmy Callaway. Any story with a Bugs Bunny reference is good in my book. Callaway is consistently hysterical and he doesn't fail us here. He has a brisk, unique, very readable style that I can't get enough of.

"Ravine" by Steve Weddle. Dealing with how a character changes or fails to change is very difficult. I often find that characters who change too much aren't believable -- in my opinion, people don't tend to change much, so in fiction it comes off as forced. But in this story, Weddle makes a smart move -- he tests a change his character has already gone through. The result is a tight and engrossing piece with a phenomenal last line.

"Budget Cuts" by Dave White. I have particular affinity for this story as I will soon join the ranks of public school teachers. (White is a middle school English teacher in New Jersey.) Paul Brown is a teacher who speaks his mind. This is dangerous when there are Tea Party psychos around who like to do more than just bitch about property taxes. A tense and exciting read.

"Green By" by Chris F. Holm. For some reason, I like reading about stoners. Especially when they have really dumb ideas like breaking into a drug dealer's greenhouse cause they're fresh out of bud. Of course, it's not easy as they think.

And I didn't even get around to excellent contributions from writers like Hilary Davidson, Patti Abbott, Kieran Shea, Ken Bruen, Roger Smith and so many others.


  1. Aw, I can't get enough of you, daddy-o.

  2. I really enjoy Chris F. Holm's work. It'll be nice to enjoy the other guys work too.

  3. So many great stories in there, so much talent. Thanks for the mention, sir.

  4. I'm there. Gimme a minute, got couple of loose ends then KAPOW!!!