Matthew C. Funk writes about all of human experience through the prism of New Orleans. He's appeared on many a top five list here and will appear on many more. For those of you who are not hip to him, go check out his web site.
#5 Junkyard Dog by Thomas Pluck (Plots With Guns)
Keeping you in the action while transcending time and place, JUNKYARD DOG assembles a complete character from a scattered history of violence. The worse it gets, the more you care. And Thomas Pluck knows how to make it get real damn bad.
#4 In A Lonely Place by Pete Risley (Pulp Metal Magazine)
Nobody does wretched like Risley. His stories ooze with the septic common vein of pity and pathos that binds us all. They're never pleasant and always so pithy that they can't be missed. In A Lonely Place is among his finest, pushing us into the excruciating condition of the victim of a random crime and letting us steep in one of the most sophisticated broths of fear I've ever had the displeasure of reading.
#3 Films Made Me Do It by Sam Duda (Sex And Murder)
It is a brilliant time for connoisseurs of the mad mind. The internet gives voice to dementia shuttered into the dungeons by the ivory tower of publication. As Films Made Me Do It reveals, Sam Duda is one of insanity's finest composers. With a musical cadence and a schizoid lilt, his prose leads us down a murder plot's path, but through the poison garden of a lunatic's outlook. Faulkner could hardly have done it as beautifully, and could not have done it so crazy.
#2 Food Is Other People by Jimmy Callaway (Eaten Alive)
This is zombie fiction by way of Callaway, meaning it cuts cleanly to the bone with some of the sharpest street prose online today. With his usual enthralling voice, Jimmy Callaway uses the flesh-eater motif to disembowel the soul of his hero. Food Is Other People delivers a message worthy of its title, illustrating the social ecology that finds human beings devouring one another - emotionally, professionally, socially - on an everyday basis.
#1 Deguello by William Dylan Powell (Needle Magazine)
William Dylan Powell is the foremost unsung find of 2011 - an author whose work always hits me on the nose, slaps me on the back and shares a wink with me. Deguello, his debut in Needle Magazine, showcases all the ways that Powell is at the top of his game: A solid, salty crime genre plot; robust characters; marvelous detail; impressario emotional notes; and explosive, high-octane prose. He is one to watch, and Deguello was a captivating first look at him.