Sunday, September 25, 2011
CRIME FACTORY: THE FIRST SHIFT
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.