A lot of y'all have said something along the lines of: "Rhatigan, why do you suck so much? Pick five? FIVE? Out of like hundreds of quality stories? You suck. A lot. Rot in hell."
Yeah, I hear that. But I think that, so far, these lists have done a couple of cool things--I've found so many good stories that I hadn't heard about. And, honestly, this is why I started this blog. To spread the word about the cool stuff I'd read and to hear from everyone else what cool stuff they'd read. (My challenge for the New Year: Stop using the word cool so much.)
The other thing I've found with these lists is that there have been very few repeats. To me, this shows that, even within the circle of the crime fiction community, everybody has different tastes. So my picks aren't the best, but rather they're five stories I really dug and would, without hesitation, recommend to anyone.
That said, I'm going to cheat because I am a pansy. Today I'm doing top five flash and next week, top five short stories.
So, in no particular order:
In this Place, by Kieran Shea at Powder Burn Flash
Holyfuckingshit you need to read this. I can't imagine that any other writer could do more with a single paragraph. At the end of this story, I was huddled in a corner, shaking, begging for my mommy, and sucking my thumb. Every line ripped out a vital organ.
Depression by Chris Deal at MiCrow
The theme for the winter issue of MiCrow is the void. Deal throws you into that void without so much as an apology or a wave goodbye. This is a subtle and haunting story--like a python that wraps itself around your neck and squeezes away your breath.
Stupid is as Stupid Doesn't by Jimmy Callaway at A Twist of Noir
Callaway always rocks and this is no exception. Hilarious and brutal with crackling dialogue, this story is a great example of his natural, and inimitable, style. Check out his page of stories there--you won't be able to tear yourself away.
Stars by Ian Ayris at Thrillers, Killers 'n Chillers
Ian's gotten a lot of love in these lists and for good reason. No one writes descent into dark madness better right now, and Stars is a prime example of that. And the prose--in all of its droppin' g's glory--slices and dices like an "As Seen on TV!" product.
Greta at the Track by Christopher Grant at Thrillers, Killers 'n Chillers
Really I could've put any Greta story in here--no one makes em pay quite like her. In this tight little package, desperate loser Teddy thinks his luck is changing. Guess what? It's not.