Julie Morrigan is putting us all to shame with her production. She released four e-books in 2011 -- her novels, Convictions and Heartbreaker, made it to many best books of 2011 lists. Her two short story collections, Gone Bad and The Writing on the Wall, have also earned many well-deserved accolades. Find out more about her excellent work at her web site. And here she is with five from last year...
It’s that time of year. The time when we have to make a list and check it twice, make tough choices and pick our favourites, and it never gets any easier. My thanks to the writers whose stories I have listed here for providing such rich and varied entertainment. My thanks and my apologies to those whose stories I have thoroughly enjoyed, but didn’t have room to mention.
Heart Shaped Hammer — Sean Patrick Reardon
Of all Sean’s excellent short stories, this is perhaps my favourite. It’s so beautifully written, the present day action and the story of what led to it expertly interwoven, a tale of love and loss and, ultimately, revenge. Superb stuff.
Skinny Latte — Chris Rhatigan (at Shotgun Honey)
One of many by Chris that I could have chosen, Skinny Latte is an absolute cracker. Dark, sharply observed, full of great dialogue and description, and the ultimate cautionary tale for controlling parents. Fantastic!
Padre — AJ Hayes (from Pulp Ink)
AJ Hayes is one of my favourite writers. I could have picked any one of his excellent stories to include in this selection and it would have deserved its place. I chose this one because I found it compelling, chilling, and wholly believable, and it stayed with me long after I had finished reading it. A staggering combination of brutality and compassion, ‘Padre’ shows humanity not in black and white, but in the murky shades of grey that most of us are painted in. Stunning.
The Damp Fedora — Absolutely*Kate
Again, I chose this story of Kate’s because it stayed with me long after I read it. If you’re familiar with Kate’s writing, you’ll know how rich and lyrical it is. If you’re not, this is a cracking introduction both to it and to Detective Nelle Callahan. Stylish and sassy, she’s quite the dame. (And so’s Nelle!)
The Tut — Paul D. Brazill (From ’13 Shots of Noir’)
I’m a big fan of Paul’s stories: the spare prose, the eye for detail, the dark humour. Perhaps especially the dark humour. ‘The Tut’ is classic Brazill, a tale of repressed anger, disappointment, seething resentment, bad choices, and, ultimately, disaster. Perfect!