Sunday, August 3, 2014
An Open-and Shut Case, by Brian Tobin
Hmm... What to say about this one?
Usually when I don't want to say much it is because 1) the story is very short, or 2) there is a twist ending I don't want to give away.
Neither is true in this case. In fact, the problem is that this story does not twist. It is a straight line from the beginning to the end. What makes it stand out is that the hero (and the author) has the nerve to make this plan and carry it out.
When the story begins Sheriff Maloney is looking at the corpse of Curtis Frye, dead in the doorway of his own house. Frye was bad news, a meth-head who killed a woman for thirty bucks. He was tried for the crime three times but most of the evidence had been kicked out on a technicality, resulting in three hung juries.
After getting the investigation started Mahoney gets in his car and makes a phone call:
"You owe me, Roy. This is me calling in my chit. Tonight, you cannot kill yourself."
This is the second time Tobin made my list this year. A dazzling story, right down to the sheriff's explanation of his actions at the very end.