Tuesday, August 10, 2010

West, Texas, by Graham Powell

The relatively new zine, Crime Factory, has already published a slew of fine short fiction, novel excerpts, reviews, columns, and other stuff. It has a sharp look (gotta love the mugshot on the cover), a cool typewriterish font, and, oh yeah, they attracts some of the best crime fiction authors around.

In the latest edition (Issue 4), Graham Powell has crafted a gritty tale in West, Texas, which, I was surprised to find out, is an actual town. The story focuses on Charlie, a North Central Texas Rodeo Champion who had two fingers crushed in a paper mill accident and is learning how to use a lasso with his left hand. But things quickly become more complicated for Charlie when he arrives home to find local asshole Denton McCoy dead in the doorway, and his wife nearby holding his .357 Magnum.

Charlie has a comfortable voice--I could hear that slight twang throughout. Combined with Powell's talent for  ratcheting up the tension, it makes for a smooth read. Powell's also what I like to call a conservationist: nearly every detail included in the story isn't just to fill out character or setting, he reuses it to push the story forward.  

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