Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Top Five

Overall, 2011 was a good year for crime fiction. Sure, a few good pubs shut down (Dark Valentine comes to mind), but several good ones started up (Shotgun Honey, Pulp Modern, Dirty Noir, Near to the Knuckle). I discovered several new writers, and there's been a surge in the production of high-quality ebooks.

Enough of that, here are five stories from 2011 that stick out in my mind...

Dogs at the Door by Court Merrigan at Powder Burn Flash
This story just kicked my ass. A horrifying premise and a conclusion that equals it -- this one's got it all. Plenty of  good details to sink your teeth into (er, pun unintended) too. Merrigan's new to the crime scene this year, and I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot more of him.

Purgatory Sex Twins by Callan at A Twist of Noir
Where the hell did this come from? This is one weird story about a incestuous relationship that explores the depths of human depravity. A surreal, well-written tale that you will not soon forgret. Kudos to Christopher Grant for publishing this, too.

Once a Loser by Holly West in Needle #4
A teenager guy's mobster uncle dies and asks him to perform a mysterious chore. The kid gets his hands on some money and thinks it's his ticket out of snoozeville. Of course, he's wrong. This story is rich in detail and well paced, and I really like the main character.

Mantra by Jodi MacArthur at All Due Respect
Ian Ayris and MacArthur have the market cornered on writing about the crazies. "Mantra" focuses on a very creepy saleswoman and this piece oozes with dread. I can't say enough about Jodi's work -- and this is one of her best. By the end, I was going "One, Two, Three, Nails and Teeth go beneath..."

Hurt by R Thomas Brown at Powder Burn Flash
A twisted tale of a soulless woman gaining a soul through less-than-conventional means. I loved the idea for this story and the execution is perfect. Brown's another writer I discovered this year and I'm always on the lookout for his work.


  1. Hadn't read any of them, but that will soon chnage. Tx for the head's up.

  2. I will be reading these now too. Thanks!!

  3. Read a couple but will catch up with the others. Thanks, buddy!

  4. Every one a revelation of just how freakin' good stories can get. And total confirmation of Tom Wolfe's ststement of a few years back that the only ground breaking writing around the contempory fiction scene is found in genre. Great list, buddy.

  5. Thanks so much, Chris. Thrilled and honored 'Mantra' is in your top 5.

  6. Thanks, Chris. Feels great to be included with such talent. Glad you enjoyed the story.

  7. Thanks much, Chris - very honored for the recognition.

  8. I agree with everyone here that these are all excellent choices. Just goes to show that the crime scene is alive, well and kicking ass all over the place.

    In regards to Callan's Purgatory Sex Twins, as I said when I published it, there's absolutely no reason to shy away from content. It's how the content is used that makes all the difference. I happen to think that what Callan did with the story makes it go from gruesome to beautiful.

  9. Yeah, that piece blurs the line between gruesome and beautiful.

    Also, I just noticed a rather dumb proofreading error in my post. Off to fix that now.

  10. Callan's story was a cracker wasn't it. She understands surreal Noir.