Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Needle is consistently one of the most solid noir publications around, as is clear in their latest issue.

Outstanding work from writers I've been following for a while, like Patti Abbott, David Cranmer, Cam Ashley, Matthew C. Funk, and Jason Duke.

There are also a few that are new to me. My tastes tend toward the brief and punchy -- like Mel Clayton's Double Check. Two criminals are out dumping a body and both are paranoid that the other's going to cross them. Clayton's sharp sense of humor and keen ear for dialog make this story a winner.

Scott Morse has a fun and absurdist chess/skateboarding adventure with Check. Like many of the pieces in Needle, the stylish writing makes this one sizzle.

So if you haven't gotten your copy yet, now's the time.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I'm up at the horror zine Flashes in the Dark with Hank Mobley: Spiritual Guide. Not really classic horror that scares you here -- more surreal with a hefty serving of dark humor.

Guess I'm sort of simultaneously celebrating and poking fun at ultra-serious jazz musicians here. After a few years in music school, it kind of felt like a fundamentalist religion or something.

Anyways, hope you all enjoy it!


By Paul D. Brazill

Nowhere To Go ($2.99) by Iain Rowan contains eleven terrific short stories that have previously appeared in Alfred Hitchcocks’s Mystery Magazine, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Hardluck Stories and other classy joints.

Every story in this collection is a gem but particular favourites are ‘One Of Us’ and ‘The Remains Of My Estate’, both of which are great examples of deftly written social realism. Other standouts are the chilling ‘Chairman Of The Bored’, ‘The Chain’, a clever tale of blackmail and ‘One Step Closer’, the story of a man in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But there really isn’t a bad story in the bunch. Nowhere To Go is classy and clever Brit Grit at its best.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

E-book Bargain of the Week: Top Suspense

Top Suspense ($2.99) is a strong collection of short stories from some of the top mystery and thriller writers.

The twelve authors each have their own stories in here, plus the final story, "The Chase," which is written by the entire group--an experiment that turns out surprisingly well and might be the collection's best example of classic suspense.

One of my favorites is Ed Gorman's, "The Baby Store." In the not-so-distant future (isn't this already happening kind of?), rich parents design their children to their specifications. Gorman zeroes in on one couple and the problems cause when their perfect child turns it, well, not so perfect. A disturbing tale reminiscent of one of my favorite authors, Philip K. Dick.

I also really enjoyed "Death's Brother" by Bill Crider, about a professor who has an affair with one of his students. Bill has a dark sense of humor and, although you probably expect that this affair won't work out so well, the story takes some surprising twists and turns.

Every entry in Top Suspense is by a master of the craft of storytelling -- David Zeltserman, Max Allan Collins, Vicki Hendricks, Libby Fischer Hellmann, the list goes on. A brilliant collection from a group of authors I'm sure we'll be seeing more of.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


New issue of MiCrow is fresh off the virtual presses to day with impressive art, fiction, and poetry. Here's the lineup...

Kathleen S. Allen, Paul Beckman, Tantra Bensko, Heather Brager  , Natasha Cabot, Jeffrey S. Callico, Jeanette Cheezum , William J Fedigan, Susan Gibb, Richard Godwin, Don Hagelberg, Matthew Hance, Mike Handley,Susan Maciolek (Lily Mack), Madrea Marie, Doug Mathewson, Katie Moore,Lola Nation, Shea Newton, Jay Passer, Chris Rhatigan, Denny Sheehan, Ian C. Smith, Philip Tinkler, Robert Vaughan, Nicolette Wong, and Syeda Semim Zahan

As you may or may not have noticed, I'm on that list with a weird shorty called A Figure Trapped Inside. 

And a special thanks to Michael Solender, the editor who got this jam-packed issue done.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Alec Cizak, editor of All Due Respect, posted yesterday at his blog that, as of April 2012, he would be stepping down to focus on a new print publication, Pulp Modern.

As many of you know, for about the last year ADR has published some of the best crime fiction on the web. In fact, Matthew C. Funk's story, Times Past, won a Spinetingler Award. 

Anyways, Mr. Cizak has been kind enough to pass the editing torch on to me. I'm very excited about this--and I'm glad to see that one of my favorite zines won't be going under.

I don't plan on changing much.

Except that from now on, ADR will only be accepting erotica stories set in Ontario.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Story of the Week: Mapping the Territory by Jane Hammons

If you're not hip to the talents of Jane Hammons, you can rectify that by checking out Mapping the Territory at Shotgun Honey. This gem includes all of her trademarks -- a character trapped in a terrifying reality, stunning prose, and an angular, yet fitting, storyline.

The story originated from Patti Abbott's flash challenge, which used the prompt "I don't mind the scars." Hammons took this line and crafted one of the most creative and different pieces I've seen in a while.

Monday, June 13, 2011


So for those of you who haven't heard, the folks behind Spinetingler Magazine have an exciting new venture, Snubnose Press, which looks like it will be a force in short crime fiction. Thrilled to see a lot of familiar names on this list and really happy to see two brilliant and hard-working authors, Sandra Seamans and Patti Abbott, will soon be releasing their own collections.

Here's the announcement:

Spinetingler Magazine is pleased to announce the launch of Snubnose Press, an e-publisher of crime fiction.

Spinetingler Magazine has been publishing new and emerging writers since 2005. Building from that foundation Snubnose Press will seek to publish only the best in short crime fiction. With the traditional publishing market contracting, Snubnose Press will fill this gap by publishing original anthologies, novellas and short novels.

Visit Snubnose Press at http://snubnosepress.wordpress.com/

The debut title of Snubnose Press is an anthology of six original short stories called Speedloader. Upcoming releases will include short story collections by Patti Abbott and Sandra Seamans, with more titles to be announced over the summer.

Speedloader Description:

From the trenches of WWI to the abandoned row homes of Baltimore; from a rural charnel house to the Texas-Mexican border, these six stories explore the dark heart of crime fiction today.

Speedloader features stories of…

…revenge that will challenge you to a game of uncle that you may not win and will haunt those who are able
to finish it.
…clashing motives on the Texas Mexico border.
…a slide into an alcoholic haze.
…a struggle with the weight of a personal choice when confronted with the sins of the past.
…getting caught up in actions far beyond one’s control.
…small crimes covered up and lost amidst larger forces.

Speedloader is six stories slammed home and ready to kill.

With all new, original stories from Richard Thomas, Nik Korpon, Nigel Bird, newcomer WD County and Spinetingler Award winners Matthew C Funk and Jonathan Woods.

Visit Snubnose Press at http://snubnosepress.wordpress.com/

Please pass this information along to others and feel free to post this information publicly. Brian and Sandra are available for questions.

CONTACT: Brian Lindenmuth or Sandra Ruttan: snubnosepress@gmail.com

Saturday, June 11, 2011

E-book Bargain of the Week: Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles

In Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles (99 cents), Edward A. Grainger (aka David Cranmer) delivers seven satisfying stories that you shouldn't miss.

I'm not always the biggest fan of Westerns, but here the quality trumps any reservations about genre. Not to mention that Grainger skillfully crosses Western with noir and mystery (especially in The Outlaw Marshal, The Bone Orchard Mystery, and Kid Eddie), which makes for a tasty combination.

Grainger possesses a gift for characterization and one of the things I enjoyed most about this collection was seeing how Cash Laramie developed--from action hero in The Wind Scorpion to cool compromiser in Under the Sun. But throughout Cash Laramie and his partner, Gideon Miles, are pursuers of justice as they see it. Both prove to be complex and very likable heroes.

Under the Sun, co-written with Sandra Seamans, is one entry in the collection that doesn't focus on the duo, instead rotating to the perspective of Delilah, who repays a debt to an Indian, Brave Coyote. Here Grainger and Seamans deal with the political and moral realities of law enforcement in the old West while telling a riveting story.

Bottom line: If you like fast pulp action and adventure with real characters and fine writing, you'll love Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Jim Wilsky has a gruesome tale of revenge in this month's edition of All Due Respect with Severance.

Chris Abbott is just one of millions who were unceremoniously laid off after decades of service. He's tired of receiving punishment, and decides it's time to give back.

Wilsky gets inside the mind of this unusual and sympathetic character who is pushed to the edge. Abbott has a creative vision for how he wants to destroy his former employer, which Wilsky brings to life with an abundance of detail.

Another top-notch entry from one of my favorite zines.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

E-book Bargain of the Week: Mammoth Book of British Crime Vol. 8

"Mammoth" is a good term for this collection--a whopping 42 stories from Britain's top crime writers that somehow feels heavy even on the Kindle. And it's not just the quantity but the wide variety that makes MBBC comprehensive.

My tastes tend toward the nastier, darker corners of the genre, where Mammoth delivers. Nigel Bird's An Arm and a Leg is, from what I've seen, his grittiest work yet, an inside look at rough-and-tumble Tranent and the fate of one unfortunate cat. Paul D. Brazill is brilliant as ever with The Guns of Brixton, where he seamlessly weaves together divergent storylines without sacrificing any of his sharp humor and style. 

One of the great things about a collection of this magnitude is discovering new writers. I'd never heard of Mick Herron before, but he delivers with the clever and chilling Dolphin Junction. Herron weaves together the puzzle aspect of a whodunit with the fatalism and brutality of noir--certainly no easy feat.

Also smashing stories by the likes of Ray Banks, Ian Rankin, Jay Stringer, Allan Guthrie and so many more. 

Friday, June 3, 2011


Dark Valentine is closing its doors and its anniversary issue is available today only here, so go put that bad boy on your desktop!

DV was a great magazine and really one of a kind. Not only did they have consistently excellent stories and gorgeous art, but they were truly a cross-genre zine with horror, crime, sci-fi, and dark fantasy.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

For your perusal...

Christopher Grant is back with a vengeance at Shotgun Honey with  Dance, Motherfucker. Per his usual, he's putting on a flash fiction clinic.

A little while back, AJ Hayes alerted DBK to the talents of JF Juzwik. Ms. Juzwik has a clever, gritty, and funny piece up at Pulp Metal Magazine called Mistaken

At The Flash Fiction Offensive, Mike Wilkerson has a stylish story about drug dealing gone wrong with Sweet Suzy. Wilkerson's new to me and I'll be on the lookout for his fine work in the future.

Last, but definitely not least, Robin Billings has a screamer of a story up at Thrillers, Killers 'n Chillers, The Convenient. A simple, haunting story with very real characters. And what a voice and presence Robin possesses!  

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blink Ink!

Via David Barber, I just discovered this fantastic site, Blink Ink. They do very short fiction--50 words or less.

Check out the sample issue they have up there with brilliant work by Michael Solender, Kristen Fouquet, Stephen Hill, and Jeffrey S. Callico, among others. 

Man, I'm really amazed by these folks who can tell a story in such a short span. If you like that, subscriptions to the print version are ever-so-cheap, $5. 

AND they're coming out with Blink Noir. So sharpen your computers and get cracking--you only have until June 15 to submit!