Graham Robert Scott’s short story, The Bluffs of Taulaga Malo, appears online at the Paper Butterfly. The flash fiction piece is online and free to read here.
From the group keeping mystery & crime stories in the public eye since 1996
Monday, October 31, 2022
SMFS Member Publishing News: The Bluffs of Taulaga Malo by Graham Robert Scott
Little Big Crimes: Do-Ye0n Performs a Cost-Benefit Analysis, by Mark Niemann-Ross
SMFS Member Publishing News: The Starlite Drive-In by John Floyd
SMFS list member John Floyd’s short story, The
Starlite Drive-In, appears in the recently released anthology, It Came
From the Trailer Park: Volume 2. Published by Three Ravens Publishing,
the read is available at Amazon
in digital and print formats.
Think beer, snuff, and double-ought buckshot are what make rednecks tough?
Suburban soccer moms and soy latte-sipping men have no clue what these blue-collar men and women have to put up with on a daily basis. From chupacabras chewing the cable lines during the big game to zombie infestations boiling out from beneath that derelict double-wide on the other side of the trailer park, the heroes of It Came From the Trailer Park II have their work cut out for them! Hold their beer, Romero and Hitchcock. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
With stories by Jonathan Maberry, Arlan Andrews Sr., Philip K. Booker, Benjamin Tyler Smith, John M. Floyd, Michael J. Allen, Jenny Wren, Rob Smales, Mel Todd, Jerry Harwood, Christopher Woods, William Joseph Roberts, and Guest Editorial by the Lord of Hate, Larry Corriea.
So, pull on your boots, grab the whiskey, and don’t forget the shotgun. You’re in for a wild ride of backwoods madmen, hidden horrors, and explosive hijinks no amount of moonshine will help you forget.
SMFS Members Published in Paranoia Blues: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Paul Simon
Today is publication day for the new anthology, Paranoia
Blues: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Paul Simon, which
includes short stories by several SMFS list members. Edited by SMFS list member
Josh Pachter, the read is published by Down &
Out Books. It is available in digital and print formats from Amazon
and other vendors. The SMFS list members in the book are:
Eve Fisher with “Cool Papa Bell.”
Debra H. Goldstein with "So Beautiful or So What."
Tom Mead with "The Only Living Boy in New York."
Editor Josh Pachter with "Paranoia Blues."
Gabriel Valjan with “The Sound of Silence.”
Andrew Welsh-Huggins with "Once Upon A Time There Was An Ocean."
Frank Zafiro with "A Hazy Shade of Winter."
Across five studio albums with Art Garfunkel (1964-1970) and fourteen solo albums (1965-2018), Paul Simon’s music and lyrics have inspired generations of listeners. For Paranoia Blues, nineteen masters of contemporary short crime fiction wrote new stories, each inspired by one of Simon’s songs: one from each of the five Simon and Garfunkel studio albums (plus a bonus second story inspired by a song from Bridge Over Troubled Water) and one from each of the fourteen solo studio albums.
The contributors include award-winners E.A. Aymar, Martin Edwards, Cheryl A. Head, Edwin Hill, Tom Mead, Raquel V. Reyes, Gabriel Valjean, and a dozen more—plus the first new story by Robert Edward Eckels in more than forty years!
This is the fifth “inspired by” anthology edited by Josh Pachter, a recent winner of the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s Golden Derringer Award for Lifetime Achievement; the previous books drew on the music of Jimmy Buffett, Billy Joel, and Joni Mitchell—and the films of the Marx Brothers.
Sunday, October 30, 2022
SleuthSayers: Down the Rabbit Hole by R. T. Lawton
Saturday, October 29, 2022
SMFS Member Publishing News: Phantom Whines by Chris Dreith
SMFS list member Chris Dreith’s short story, Phantom
Whines, appears today at Kings River Life Magazine. This “Halloween Short
Story” can be read here for free.
SMFS Member Award News: Elaine Viets is a Finalist for a Royal Palm Literary Award
SMFS list member Elaine Viet’s short story, We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About, which appeared in The Great Filling Station Holdup: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Jimmy Buffett (editor Josh Pachter) is a finalist for a Royal Palm Literary Award. The winners will be announced tonight at the awards banquet during Florida WritersCon 2022. Video announcement of the finalists can be found on the website of the Florida Writers Association.
Thursday, October 27, 2022
SMFS Member Publishing News: Lockdown by James Patrick Focarile
SMFS list member James Patrick Focarile’s
short story, Lockdown, appears today at Shotgun Honey. It can be read for free here.
SMFS Member Publishing News: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors by Pam Ebel
SMFS list member Pam Ebel’s short story, Good Fences
Make Good Neighbors, appears today at Kings River Life Magazine. This
“Halloween Short Story” can be read here for free.
SMFS Member Publishing News: Gotcha by P. M. Raymond
SMFS list member P. M. Raymond’s short story, Gotcha, appears today at Kings River Life Magazine. This “Halloween Short Story” can be read here for free.
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
SMFS Members Published in Festive Mayhem 3: A Limited-Edition Collection of New Mystery and Crime Fiction Stories and Reissued Holiday Favorites
Several SMFS list members have been published in the recently released anthology, Festive Mayhem 3: A Limited-Edition Collection of New Mystery and Crime Fiction Stories and Reissued Holiday Favorites. You can learn more about the book, including where it is currently available, at Crime Writers of Color. The four SMFS list members who reported their presence in the book are:
Francelia Belton with "Black Easter."
Stella Oni with "The Troublesome Rich Girl."
Delia C. Pitts with "A Deadly First."
Paige Sleuth with "Whiteout Wipeout."
Seven crime writers of color have teamed up for the third year running to offer you the gift of escape this holiday season. This limited-edition collection includes brand-new stories set throughout the year, as well as some reissued seasonal favorites. Whether you enjoy humorous cozy mysteries with plucky amateur sleuths, or hard-boiled noir starring gritty private investigators, this anthology is for you.
What you'll find inside:
• "Black Easter" by Francelia Belton. In 1967, a militant husband and father tries to push his political views onto his wife's conservative family at the annual Easter social—and things don't end well.
• "A Deadly First" by Delia C. Pitts. Thanksgiving takes a fatal turn when New York private eye SJ Rook finds himself thrust into his first murder case in this darkly atmospheric tale of noir. (Originally published with the first Festive Mayhem.)
• "Whiteout Wipeout" by Paige Sleuth. A lost cat leads Cherry Hills, Washington, animal rescue maven and amateur sleuth Imogene Little to the body of a murdered man at the start of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend.
• "The Troublesome Rich Girl" by Stella Oni. When Elizabeth agreed to look out for the rebellious teenager Tayo Adelaja and her cousin Angelica, she enlisted the help of the Mews hotel's social media obsessed apprentice, Rosie O'Toole—only for the three to disappear!
• "Trace of Lace" by Barbara Howard. On the eve of his wedding day, Milo has to save his bride when news of a serial killer near Birston College puts the campus on lockdown.
• "A Christmas Tip" by Elizabeth Wilkerson. A surprise Christmas bonus becomes too tempting for Philadelphia nursing assistant Brianna Byers to resist—even if accepting requires some skillful skirting of the law. (Originally published with the first Festive Mayhem.)
• "Serenade for Suicide" by Carolyn Marie Wilkins. The melody turns deadly when music teacher Bertie Bigelow invites her Grammy-winning ex to give a songwriting workshop at an inner-city community college.
This short story bundle is only available for a short time, so grab it now before it's gone. It would be criminal to miss it!
Tuesday, October 25, 2022
SleuthSayers: Second Chances, Revisited by Michael Bracken
The First Two Pages: “Disco Is Dead” by Jeffrey Marks
SMFS Members Published in Black is the Night: Stories inspired by Cornell Woolrich
Today is publication day for the new anthology, Black is the Night: Stories inspired by Cornell Woolrich. Published by Titan Books, the read includes short stories by several SMFS list members. It is available in digital and print formats from the publisher, Amazon, and other vendors. The SMFS list members in the book are:
Brandon Barrows with “Two Wrongs.”
Warren Moore with “The Jacket.”
O'Neil De Noux with "Blue Moon over Burgundy."
Joseph S. Walker with "A Shade Darker Than Gray."
A gritty and thrilling anthology of 30 new short stories in tribute to pulp noir master, Cornell Woolrich, author of 'Rear Window' that inspired Alfred Hitchock's classic film.
Featuring Neil Gaiman, Kim Newman, James Sallis, A.K. Benedict, USA Today-bestseller Samantha Lee Howe, Joe R. Lansdale and many more.
An anthology of exclusive new short stories in tribute to the master of pulp era crime writing, Cornell Woolrich. Woolrich, also published as William Irish and George Hopley, stands with Raymond Chandler, Erle Stanley Gardner and Dashiell Hammett as a legend in the genre.
He is a hugely influential figure for crime writers, and is also remembered through the 50+ films made from his novels and stories, including Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, The Bride Wore Black, I Married a Dead Man, Phantom Lady, Truffaut's La Sirène du Mississippi, and Black Alibi.
Collected and edited by one of the most experienced editors in the field, Maxim Jakubowski, features original work from:
Joe R. Lansdale
Barry N. Malzberg
Paul Di Filippo
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Joseph S. Walker
Samantha Lee Howe
O'Neil De Noux
Ana Teresa Pereira
SMFS Member Publishing News: Hallmarks of the Job: Stanley Melvin P.I. Story by Frank Zafiro
Today is publication day for Hallmarks of the Job: Stanley Melvin P.I. Story by Frank Zafiro. Published by Code 4 Press, the read is available in digital format at Amazon.
Meticulous private investigator Stanley Melvin likes to keep his work grounded in reality, not at all like the classic detective novels he has read incessantly since childhood. But his best friend and annoying neighbor Rudy quickly points out that his routine "cheater" case is rapidly taking on all of the features that Stanley steadfastly insists are mere fictional tropes of the genre.
Stanley isn't too sure how he feels about this. But as a professional, he forges ahead, despite getting out of his comfort zone. He knows he has to solve this case even if it is taking on all of the hallmarks of the job.
Stanley Melvin stories take place in the SpoCompton universe.
Hallmarks of the Job won the 2022 PSWA Award!
Monday, October 24, 2022
SMFS Member Podcast News: Lorie Ham
SMFS list member Lorie Ham is the featured guest this week at The Sisters in Crime Writers' Podcast. More information, including links to listen, is at their website.
The Sisters in Crime Writers' Podcast is a conversation about writing. Featuring SinC members, and hosted by executive director Julie Hennrikus, this podcast is about the writing journey, lessons learned, publishing journeys, and the importance of community.
Episodes are released Monday, and they are available where you download podcasts, or through the links on this page. Just click on the image to download the podcast.
Lorie Lewis Ham lives in Reedley, California and has been writing ever since she was a child. Her first song and poem were published when she was 13, and she has gone on to publish many articles, short stories, and poems throughout the years, as well as write for a local newspaper, and publish 6 mystery novels. For the past 12 years, Lorie has been the editor-in-chief and publisher of Kings River Life Magazine, and she produces Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast where you can now hear an excerpt of her new book One of Us. You can learn more about Lorie and her latest book on her website mysteryrat.com and find her on Twitter @mysteryrat and Facebook. Another way to keep up with Lorie’s writing is to subscribe to her newsletter, which you can do on her website.
Lorie has been married to Larry for 30 years and they have 2 grown children—Jayce and Joseph Ham. She currently has 5 cats (Merlin, Sam, Dean, Sidney, and Willow), 4 dogs (Lestat, Huey, Xander, and Phoebe), a pet dwarf rabbit (Sherlock), and pet rat named Yuki. For many years, she worked in pet rat rescue, and has had many pet rats of her own over the years.
SMFS Member Publishing News: You Were the Last by Brandon Barrows
SMFS list member Brandon Barrows’ short story, You Were the Last, appears in the just released, Pulp Modern: Halloween Horror Issue (Volume 2 Issue 9). Edited by fellow SMFS list member Alec Cizak, the read is currently available in digital format at Amazon.
The sun is setting earlier and earlier, preparing for the night the dead cross over from one world to another. That night is Halloween, and the latest issue of Pulp Modern will get you ready with a host of horror stories appropriate for the season. This is the pulpiest issue yet, including menacing dust, interstellar beasts, terror on the high seas, deadly ink, and even a clown that may or may not be real. Featuring illustrations by a host of artists, including Darren Auck, Theo Ellsworth, Brad W. Foster, Allen K, Rick McCollum, and Michael Neno. Bob Vojtko provides cartoons. Anthony Perconti returns with another fascinating non-fiction article. Richard Krauss puts the whole thing together as art director. And Alec Cizak, Twitter's most beloved writer, continues his reign of terror as chief editor!
Sunday, October 23, 2022
Little Big Crimes: The Relentless Flow of the Amazon, by Jonathan Stone
SMFS Member Publishing News: Nineteen Creaks by Peter DiChellis
SMFS list member Peter DiChellis’ short story, Nineteen Creaks, appears in Black Cat Weekly #60 out today. Published by
Wildside Press, the read is available in digital format here.
Black Cat Weekly #60 presents another great lineup of modern and classic tales. This issue kicks off with "Buxton," an original by Dave Zeltserman, and continues through classic crime and detective stories, including a psychic detective tale featuring Jules de Grandin by Seabury Quinn. Plus there are monsters, hardboiled detective Nazi villains, science fiction, and more!
Mysteries / Suspense / Adventure:
“Buxton”by Dave Zeltserman [Michael Bracken Presents short story]
“The Unlucky Horseshoe” by Hal Charles [Solve-It-Yourself Mystery]
“Nineteen Creaks” by Peter DiChellis [Barb Goffman Presents short story]
“Thirty Pieces of Lead” by Frank Kane [short story]
“Suicide” by Frank Kane [short story]
“The Tenants of Broussac,” by Seabury Quinn [novelet, psychic detective]
Science Fiction / Fantasy / Horror
“Finders”by Melissa Scott [Cynthia Ward Presents short story]
“Boiling Point” by Lester del Re [short story]
“Murder by Magic” by Sydney J. Bounds [short story]
“The Vampire Maid,” by Hume Nisbet [short story]
“The Tenants of Broussac,” by Seabury Quinn [novelet, psychic detective]
Saturday, October 22, 2022
SMFS Members Published in Crime Wave 2: Women of a Certain Age: A Canada West Anthology
Several SMFS list members have short stories in the Crime Wave 2: Women of a Certain Age: A Canada West Anthology. Published by Sisters in Crime - Canada West Chapter, the print edition dropped back in May. The eBook came out this week. Both are available at Amazon and other vendors. The SMFS list members in this book are:
K.L. Abrahamson with “Little Monsters.”
Marcelle Dubé with "Tethered.”
Elizabeth Elwood with “The Fair Rosamund and the Summer of Love.”
Debra Henry with “Almost Invisible.”
Karen Keeley with “Thinkin’ like a Red.”
Charlotte Morganti with ““Done and Dusted.”
Merrilee Robson with "The Pompeii Beauty."
Laurie Wood with "Natural Consequences."
This second anthology from members of the Canada West chapter of Sisters in Crime follows women of a certain age through old crimes and new. Whether they be old women or little girls, women in dirigibles or women on their death beds, women in history or the woman next door, we know them through their experiences and ours.
From real estate agents to house cleaners, school girls to exterminators, you will find a delicious array of women, some with outrage in their hearts—and some with revenge—but all of them dealing with crime in new and imaginative ways.
The sixteen short stories in Crime Wave 2: Women of a Certain Age range from light-hearted to heart-breaking, and from romantic to treacherous.
Come. Catch the Crime Wave.
SleuthSayers: A Look Behind the Names by Judy Penz Sheluk
Ladies of Mystery: Writing and Rewriting by Susan Oleksiw
Friday, October 21, 2022
Criminal Element: How NOT to Write a Trilogy by Eric Beetner
SMFS Member Publishing News: Before There Were Skeletons: A Marketville Mystery by Judy Penz Sheluk
Today is publication day for Before There Were Skeletons: A Marketville Mystery by Judy Penz Sheluk. Published by Superior Shores Press, the read is available in digital and print formats at Amazon and other vendors.
The last time anyone saw Veronica Goodman was the night of February 14, 1995, the only clue to her disappearance a silver heart-shaped pendant, found in the parking lot behind the bar where she worked. Twenty-seven years later, Veronica's daughter, Kate, just a year old when her mother vanished, hires Past & Present Investigations to find out what happened that fateful night.
Calamity (Callie) Barnstable is drawn to the case, the similarities to her own mother's disappearance on Valentine's Day 1986 hauntingly familiar. A disappearance she thought she'd come to terms with. Until Veronica's case, and five high school yearbooks, take her back in time...a time before there were skeletons.
Thursday, October 20, 2022
SMFS Member Publishing News: Forever Yours by James Patrick Focarile
SMFS list member James Patrick Focarile’s short story, Forever Yours, appears online today at Kings River Life Magazine. This “Halloween Short Story” can be read here for free.
SMFS Member Publishing News: The Tarot Card Reading by Albert Katz
SMFS list member Albert Katz’s short story, The Tarot Card Reading, appears online today at Mystery Tribune. The piece is a free read here and is classified by the site as “Speculative Short Fiction.”
SMFS Members Published in A Hint of Hitchcock: Stories Inspired by the Master of Suspense
Several SMFS list members have short stories in the new anthology, A Hint of Hitchcock: Stories Inspired by the Master of Suspense. Published by Black Beacon Books, the read is out now in print and will drop in digital formats on 10/28. The book is available at the publisher, Amazon, and other vendors. The SMFS members in the book are:
Elizabeth Elwood with “Rebecca Redux.”
Roger Johns with “Karma is a Thief in the Night.”
Josh Pachter with "Better Not Look Down."
Joseph S. Walker with "More Than Suspicion."
One name springs to mind when we think of classic suspense films; Alfred Hitchcock. His silhouette is instantly recognisable as no one else has quite the same pouty lips and round, chubby face. The way he posed for photographs and his penchant for making cameo appearances in his films bear witness to his larger-than-life personality, but it was his ability to tell a spellbinding tale coupled with his technical brilliance that earned him the epithet of "Master of Suspense". His groundbreaking use of camera movement and the way he framed shots to maximise anxiety and fear place films like "Vertigo" among the very finest examples of creative achievement ever produced within the seventh art. In "Rear Window" he builds edge-of-your-seat tension by placing us in James Stewart's wheelchair and making us watch events unroll through his eyes, and the use of cutting-edge special effects in "The Birds" is almost impressive as the fact that more than three thousand were trained for the film. What else do these three films mentioned have in common, along with "Psycho" and "Rebecca" and so many others? That's right...they were based on novels or short stories; the written word. In "A Hint of Hitchcock" we turn our attention back from the screen to the page, and bring you, the avid suspense reader, modern tales that chill and surprise, all inspired by the work of the master of suspense.
Better Not Look Down - Josh Pachter
Golden Curls - Rebecca A. Demarest
More Than Suspicion - Joseph S. Walker
Paranoia - Paulene Turner
The Suitcase - Jason Fischer
Rebecca Redux - Elizabeth Elwood
Highwayman's Hitch - Cameron Trost
Relish - David Carroll
Karma is a Thief in the Night - Roger Johns
Scallion's Head - H.K. Stubbs
Closed Circuit - Mark Blackham
Vault - Andy Rausch
SMFS Member Publishing News: Good Help is Hard to Find by Nina Wachsman
Nina Wachsman’s short story, Good Help is Hard to Find,
appears in the anthology, Night Terrors Vol. 22: Short Horror Stories
Anthology. Published by Scare Street, the read is now available in
digital and print formats at Amazon and other vendors.
Terror lurks just out of sight. But it won’t stay hidden for long…
A terrifying science experiment unleashes a phantasmal killer from beyond the grave. An ancient tome devours the minds of all who dare read its endless pages. And a donut shop waitress discovers a sinister secret ingredient, that keeps customers coming back for more…
Scare Street is proud to present a breathtaking new collection of diabolical tales. Every page unleashes a new terror, torn straight from the darkest shadows of the night.
You’ve seen them before, just out of the corner of your eye. Dark, slimy things, slithering through the shadows when you turn off the light.
And now you hear them, scraping on the door of your bedroom, as you pull the covers over your head.
And as their footsteps creak across the floor, you wonder…
Will this be the last sound you ever hear?
This volume features the following stories:
1. Soul Bottle by Jack Neel Waddell
2. Good Help is Hard to Find by Nina Wachsman
3. Snowblind by Clarence Carter
4. Jaws of Glass by Matthew R. Davis and Roger Davis
5. Aiyana’s Hearth by Craig Crawford
6. The Dashwood Donut Emporium is Now Hiring by Kat Sokol
7. Black Wolf's Sedan by P. D. Williams
8. Something in the Water by Margaret Eve
9. At the Cemetery Gates by D. C. Marcus
10. The Nobody Book by Adam Vine
11. Good Company by Madeline Jacobson
12. Haunting Memories by Justin Boote
13. Darling Daughter by Justin Moritz
14. The Doll by Ron Ripley and Kevin Saito
Wednesday, October 19, 2022
SleuthSayers: Stepping Up to the Plate by Robert Lopresti
SMFS Member Publishing News: A Gift for Halloween by Edward Lodi
Edward Lodi’s short story, A Gift for Halloween, appears in the just released book, Halloween Horrors: 13 Tales of Terror. Published by Black Widow Press, the anthology is available in digital and print formats at Amazon.
The same trick-or-treater keeps coming to my house. He's starting to scare me.
There's a scarecrow standing in the vineyard--but we stopped using them years ago.
And there's something moving in the pumpkin patch...
HALLOWEEN HORRORS is a wildly terrifying anthology of Halloween stories. Ghoulish trick-or-treaters, gruesome jack o'lanterns, and faceless specters haunt the pages of this book, ready to leap to life in the deepest corners of your mind. Sit down in front of the fire, as the chilly autumn wind howls outside, and read... if you dare.
SMFS Member Publishing News: Miss Rennie by Edward Lodi
Edward Lodi’s short story, Miss Rennie, appears in the just released book, It Was All A
Dream: An Anthology of Bad Horror Tropes Done Right. Published by Hungry Shadow Press,
the anthology is available in digital and print formats from Amazon
and other vendors.
It Was All A Dream: An Anthology of Bad Horror Tropes Done Right
Edited by Brandon Applegate
Original cover art by Evangeline Gallagher
Original interior illustrations by Christopher Castillo Díaz
Release date: October 18, 2022
Tried and true or done to death?
There are plenty of tropes we’d like to see rot in their graves, but they keep coming back from the dead. In this book, horror's most devious minds subvert, reclaim, and double down on what you know too well, giving even the most done-to-death tropes new life. From alien abductions and werewolves to creepy dolls and Lover’s Lane killers, these tropes claw their way back from the grave to take their rightful place in your nightmares.
Featuring stories from:
Erin Keating, Cormack Baldwin, Eric Raglin, Die Booth, Laurel Hightower, LC von Hessen, Taylor Rae, Lyndon Nicholas, Alex Woodroe, Tom Coombe, Patrick Barb, Nikki R. Leigh, J.V. Gachs, K.A. Wiggins, Madison McSweeney, Helena O'Connor, Belicia Rhea, Angela Sylvaine, Gabino Iglesias, Gemma Files, Erin Brown, Edward Lodi, Drew E. Huff, Danielle Davis, Wendy N. Wagner, and Hailey Piper
And a foreword by:
SMFS Member Publishing News: Something Blue by G.M. Malliet
G.M. Malliet’s short story, Something Blue, is published
in the Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine: November/December 2022 issue.
The issue is available at the publisher,
Amazon, and other vendors.
In EQMM’s November/December issue, Christmas lunches at a rest-stop diner come with a side of suspicion in Charlotte Hinger’s “Lizzie Noel” and a theologian is mysteriously dead before holiday sales can earn out in Simon Brett’s “Marginalia.” A teenager’s observations at a small-town library come to a head over winter break in “Book Lovers” by Hollis Seamon, and neighbors are invested in each other’s lives in the lead-up to the holidays in “Street Versus the Stalker” by Pam Barnsley.
The bonds we make during childhood can remain strong, as we find in the tense “Juvenility” by M.J. Soni, the touching “If I Could Walk My Brother into the Dark Woods” by Andrew Riconda, and “Magic Beans” by Meenakshi Gigi Durham, where a woman raised in an ashram reminisces. In another alternative community, a young mother finds what matters to her in Vikram Kapur’s “10.”
The surprises don’t end: We have unlikely sleuths (a reluctant groomsman in “Something Blue” by G.M. Malliet, a high school athletic-equipment manager in “Two, Four, Six, Eight” by Michael Z. Lewin, and a struggling writer in “Creative Vice” by Scott William Carter) and unlikely criminals (in the relatable “What Kind of Criminal?” by Latoya Jovena and the hilarious “The Artisan-Cheese Incident” from the Department of First Stories by Michael B. Hock). We find more seasoned investigators in “Archie Smith: International Spy” by Dave Zeltserman and “The Sunday Assassin” by John Lantigua.
It wouldn’t be the holidays without a “ghost”—there’s one to consider in the Department of First Stories’ “A Ghost for Marcy’s Garden” by W.W. Mauck—and a little magic, which we find in “The Card on the Ceiling,” a Passport to Crime tale by Awasaka Tsumao.
A Black Mask reprint (“Take It and Like It” by Frederick Nebel), our usual columns, and two poems (Carl Robinette’s “Tightrope City” and F.R. Duplantier’s “A Roomful of Sleuths”) round out the issue. Plus you’ll find the 2022 Readers Award ballot. Don’t forget to vote!
SMFS Member Publishing News: Playing at Murder: Market Center Mysteries by Karen McCullough
Today is publication day for Playing at Murder: Market
Center Mysteries by Karen McCullough. This is the third book in the
series that began in 2018 with A Gift for Murder. The read is available
at Amazon and other vendors.
When murder crashes the Games and Playthings Exhibition, someone’s not toying around.
Dolls, constructions sets, stuffed animals, craft kits, and more are the featured displays in the annual Games and Playthings Trade Show at the Washington D.C. Commerce and Market Center, where vendors seek to convince retail buyers to stock their products. Murder and destruction aren’t supposed to be on the program.
The hit-and-run death of an exhibitor overshadows what should be a fun few days of giveaways, games, and demos. A gun hidden in a bin of stuffed animals, a damaged show car, and a drone knocking over the PlayBlox displays are the opening salvos of chaos created by a clever but unhinged vandal.
Settling disputes and fielding complaints are all in a day’s work for Heather McNeil, assistant to the director of the Market Center. Sussing out murder suspects to help the police is way beyond her job description, especially while trying to corner a vandal before the damage gets worse. Keeping the show running despite the mayhem will pit her and her allies, particularly Scott Brandon, the Center’s handsome but enigmatic security officer, against someone playing a deadly game.