Sunday, March 3, 2013

Restraint, by Alison Gaylin

"Restraint" by Alison Gaylin, in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, March/April 2013.

Some stories you know right from the beginning will be your favorite of the week - if they can keep up that pace to the end.  Some don't show their true colors until you get to the stunning ending.

But the rarest of all is the story that doesn't reveal itself as the winner until hours after you read it.  By which I mean, I couldn't stop thinking about this one.  Which is not to say Gaylin hasn't given us a good opening.

When the woman who killed Kevin Murphy's daughter walked into Cumberland Farms to pay for her gas, the first thing Kevin noticed about her was the way she crumpled her money.

Got your attention?  I thought it would.  And the ending is no slouch either.  But in between you will slowly learn about what happened to Murphy's daughter -- none of the obvious things that might pop into your head  -- and about the revenge Murphy plans.  Again, that is a long way from obvious.  It is not bloody or particularly violent, but it will shock you.

Powerful stuff.

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