Thursday, December 29, 2011

Five You Can't Miss: Naomi Johnson

Naomi Johnson runs the delightful blog The Drowning Machine, where she attempts to stay afloat in an ocean of books. She's also a top writer, with work at A Twist of Noir and one in Pulp Ink that's one of the funniest stories I've read. Very pleased to have her here today talking short fiction...

Here are five you can't miss. Mustn't miss. And shame on you if you do.

The Perfect Day by Patricia Abbott (All Due Respect) - A day at the beach for a uniquely dysfunctional family goes just about as well as any of their days can go. At least until they arrive home. This story has a disturbing quality to it, reminiscent of the best of Flannery O'Connor. All of Abbott's short stories are worth the reading, in fact, as she comes at her characters from unexpected angles and never sinks to the predictable.

Massacre Canyon by Wayne D. Dundee (Beat to a Pulp) - This was published last January, so some people may have forgotten it, but they shouldn't. This is a great action tale about a wounded bounty hunter who is stranded outdoors in a blizzard. And the blizzard just might be the least of his worries. 

6/8 by Trey R. Barker (Shotgun Honey) - Here's what Sandra Seamans, no mean purveyor of short fiction herself, had to say about this tale of spurned love set to a jazz soundtrack: "Sometimes you read a story and want to throw everything you've ever written in the trash, knowing that you can't make the words dance like the writer you've just read." The voice and flow of 6/8 is like nothing else I've ever read. 

Through the Valley of the Shadow of Roosevelt's Nose
 by Craig McDonald (Crime Factory: The First Shift) - McDonald does a fine rif on Flannery O'Connor's most famous short story, with McDonald's own Hector Lassiter at the center of the action. Toss in references to one of Hitchcock's better films, North by Northwest, and once again, McDonald makes magic for the reader.

Plastic Soldiers by W.D. County (Speedloader) - County may not be the most prolific of writers, but he makes certain each story is a perfect gem. Here he presents a 
tale of stark courage about a boy who, enduring horrific circumstances, receives inspiration and guidance from the toy soldiers in his pocket. I can't say more except that this is a brilliantly moving story.


  1. Our archive at BEAT to a PULP is down at the moment but I hope folks come back and check out Wayne's story.

  2. Thanks, Naomi! That was a story I almost didn't send to a crime zine because the action was peripheral. Glad people have liked it.