Monday, January 31, 2011

Top 5: The Right Moment by Michael Solender

The Right Moment by Michael Solender at Thrillers, Killers 'n Chillers

There are several Michael Solender stories that could be in my top five this year (Pewter Badge at Yellow Mama and Seventy-Two Hours or Less at A Twist of Noir come to mind) but I'll arbitrarily pick this one.

Or not arbitrarily at all because it's so perfect. It's everything a short story should be. The pacing is dead-on--wrought with suspense right up to the ending. The characters are sketched efficiently with bright little details and imbued with a sense of history--no small task when using an omniscient narrator.

And Solender's incredible range is on display at his blog, not from here, are you?, where he publishes tightly crafted microfiction several times a week.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Top 5: The Toll Collectors by Chris F. Holm

The Toll Collectors by Chris F. Holm in 8 Pounds

The Toll Collectors is Mr. Holm at the height of his talents. First published at Beat to a Pulp last year, this story starts out with hit man Ray McDaniel driving along the interstate, calmly reflecting on his career as a hit man.

Until the ghost of one of his victims plants herself in the middle of the road and he crashes his car.

Ray doesn't want to call attention to himself by calling the cops, so he decides to walk away from the accident down the abandoned toll road. But on that road are a few old souls that he'd rather not see...

I love cross-genre stuff and this is the perfect blend of crime and horror. It's also my favorite story in Holm's brilliant collection, which by the way, is only 99 cents.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Top 5: SERVICE by Gary Lovisi

Over the next five days, I'm posting my top five short stories for 2010. First up...

Service by Gary Lovisi at A Twist of Noir

A moving, shocking, and just plain fucked-up tale about the bizarre cult surrounding one very fat stripper, Clarise. The narrator, Arthur, quickly slides from fascination to obsession to total obedience in strangely believable fashion. Characters that leap off the page, slicing-and-dicing dialogue, machine gun prose--this one's got it all.

And Lovisi explores so much here--how much will we give up to get what we want? what are we willing to do for the people we love? how willing are we to deny reality?--all wrapped up in one gutsy, down-and-dirty package.

Last summer, Lovisi released Service and A Rat Must Chew at ATON. These two chilling, brilliant works inspired me to buy his new collection, Ultraboiled.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Simon Rip's Back

Charles Gramlich takes the time-traveling helm in the second installment of the Simon Rip saga at Beat to a Pulp. A few wicked twists, a cameo by everybody's favorite literary father figure, and a whole lot of ass kickings. Don't want to miss this action-packed series--Garnett Elliott will have the final word on the future in the near future.

A sizzling new issue of Pulp Metal Magazine is out, too. Paul Brazill defines Brit Grit and also writes it in a darkly funny piece, The Big Issue. And Richard Godwin offers a beautiful, brooding family drama with Fresh Bacon. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Crime Fiction Choice

I'm over at Col Bury's blog today with a Crime Fiction Choice... check it out if you want to be one of the cool kids.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Needle 3: Smokin!

The winter issue of Needle delivers a sock-full-of-quarters smack to the noggin that will leave you critically injured and clinically depressed for weeks to come. I consumed virtually the entire thing during my bi-annual pilgrimage from MLI (the glorious Moline airport) to HPN (which, for some reason, is the White Plains airport). It's that addictive.

Kieran Shea has one of his best in here, a tale of a few dumb college kids trying to strike it rich by stealing from a professional criminal in Some Heroes. Things don't go so well for them in this hilarious and fast-paced story.

Richard Godwin has created a unique and memorable character in the bizarre Pike n Flytrap. Flytrap couldn't be more fittingly named--an alluring and venomous lady whom I wouldn't recommend crossing. The story takes a number of unexpected turns as well, pushing the genre in a different direction.

Until Proven Guilty is a heartbreaking tale by Libby Cudmore about a rookie prison guard. Though one wouldn't expect a prison love story to have a happy ending, I was really rooting for the very likable characters Cudmore has crafted here.

And the first installment of the Ray Banks novel Wolf Tickets is freakin rad. Two low-lifes--like an Irish Beavis and Butthead--wreaking havoc.

So if you haven't ordered yours yet, what are you waiting for?

Or you could get the other Needle magazine... seriously, click there, it's kind of funny.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

P&E Poll

P&E is running their annual poll with a whole slew of categories, including best fiction zine, best short story, best fiction zine editor, etc. 

Several DBK favorites are included on the ballot, such as Yellow Mama, Thrillers, Killers 'n Chillers, and Pulp Metal Magazine. So go cast your vote!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Top Five for 2010: Col Bury

Col Bury is an editor for one of the finest noir sites around, Thrillers, Killers 'n Chillers. I'm thrilled, killed, and chilled to have him with us today...

It’s been fun choosing my five memorable shorts from 2010, so thanks for asking, Chris. I make no apologies for TKnC featuring heavily, but obviously that’s where much of my reading is done. I’ve tried not to duplicate, and have gone for stories folks may have missed.  All resonated with me.  I hope you enjoy…


Top class writing this.  Atmospheric, exquisite and wickedly mesmeric with an unexpected twist perfectly executed.  A seamless, flawless must read. Truly awesome.

Cleverly woven parallel plotline in this chiller, incorporating a gradual ‘reveal’ and menacing, matter-of-fact voice in the mind of a truly fucked up individual.  Unique and well worth a nosey.

Ever heard of Sawney Bean?  Well David’s take on this legendary tale will rock your core, over at Erin Cole’s 13 Days of Horror.  Gruesomely shocking, with a gut-wrenching denouement leaving images that linger.

UNITED WE FALL by Sean Patrick Reardon
“Textbook noir spat out with venom,” was my comment after reading this cracker as part of the Do Some Damage Christmas Noir Challenge.  No nonsense, punchy tale, and don’t expect a happy ending!

Richard created a whole new sub-genre of Sci-Fi Noir with this crazy ride a year ago at A Twist Of Noir.  Complex plot for a short, with warped phraseology second to none. I loved it so much it was given a second airing recently at TKnC.

Col Bury is the co-editor of Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers, and his crime novel is being touted by a NY agent. Col's short stories can be found in anthologies, and scattered around the blogosphere. He blogs, reviews, and interviews crime authors at:

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Jodi MacArthur takes internet via storm!

As you may or may not know, Jodi MacArthur is filled to the brim with awesomeness. She's a horror and crime writer who pens a pirate series at Pulp Metal Magazine has a phenomenal story up at 10Flash Quarterly, The Girl Who Was Chased by an Abominable Snowman with a Machete. 

With a title like that, you know you're in for a treat.

She follows through with a raucous, imaginative, and hilarious adventure. Santa, Big Foot and, of course, the machete-wielding Snowman all make appearances in this blazing tale told from the perspective of a girl who requests her mom to "not freak out" about her disappearance.

MacArthur is also Chin Wagging over at Richard Godwin's place and sheesh, does she provide thoughtful, engaging answers.

At one point, she quotes King as saying that fiction has power as the truth withing the lie. That really rings true for me. To me, non-fiction and journalism offers a lot of facts, but seems to often skirt around truth. I think there is a difference there--truth is the core, but facts are mere information floating in space. But good fiction tracks down truth, sinks its claws into its back, and holds on for dear life! Good fiction catapaults into the void of human identity...

or you know some other smart-sounding philosophical stuff.

Anywho, what do you think? Is there any truth in fiction?

Or are we just deceiving ourselves? Are we just trying to rationalize why we keep playing pretend well into adulthood? Shouldn't we have better, more adultish things to do?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Top Five for 2010: Richard Godwin

Richard Godwin: master short story writer, interviewer extraordinaire, soon-to-be-published novelist. (You can pre-order Apostle Rising, due out in March, here.) Awesome to have him at DBK today with his Top Five.

After much head scratching and re-reading of a plethora of great stories I have picked these five because they stand out individually. There are so many great stories out there it was hard to pick these. I also wanted to be eclectic, which is what Chris encouraged me to be when he asked me to do it.

The numbers are random, I hate league tables, I fed them into a permutational generator, so no one is first place, these are all equal.

1) AJ Hayes 'Savant'

Bill writes with an ease that may lull you into complacency. He knows a huge amount about literature and storytelling and this is obvious when you read him. This one grabs you by the balls and twists hard. He layers his narratives subtly and with a dexterity matched by few. He is able to play conflicting emotions off one another. I love this for its style and ambivalence.

2) Jodi MacArthur 'Pillow Talk'. Jodi has mastered horror writing and now has thrown down the gauntlet to many men on the crime scene. Watch out boys, this girl is coming to get you. She can hold your attention as she spoons your brains into a cooking pan. She unfolds her narratives with a sure hand. I loved this for its slow and decisive excavation of an inner horror.

3) Salvatore Butacci 'Peg In My Heart'.

Sal can muster so many forms of style it is impossible to list them all. He is always engaging, never dull and consistently humane and witty.

This story pegs you from the word go. It is about irretrievability and the way crime changes lives. It is told in Sal's assured style which captures both heart and mind.

4) Cindy Rosmus 'All Gone' the Original version. There is a story behind this story, an editor's re write, messing around around with something he evidently did not understand. Both versions are great but this is the better of the two. Cindy writes crackling electric prose. She never disappoints, she is the New Jersey Queen of crime and the nasty shock in the dark, her dialogue is always real and idiosyncratic to her characters. I loved this for its raw honesty and portrait of human despair.

5) Miss Alister 'Wasted Space'. Miss Alister is talented and subtle. Hugely so. She writes layered rich narratives that spin you on the head of a coin and let you land somewhere you never saw coming. She is versatile and cannot be pigeonholed and here she does crime as well as the best. There is so much more to her writing than a first glance reveals. I love this for its assured literary approach to the genre and its hybrid vision.