Monday, January 27, 2020
This is the third appearance here by Craig Faustus Buck.
When a private investigator encounters a woman being bothered by a stalker you can reasonably assume you are about to read a private eye story. But sometimes things take a sudden shift sideways. In this case we go crashing into noir territory.
Our narrator is a part-time employer of a private detective, which means she mostly serves summons. When she meets and falls for a woman at the golf course she agrees to put the papers on the creepy ex-boyfriend. Of course, she is hoping, in classic noir fashion, to get closer to this femme fatale. And she does.
But her lover isn't quite over the creepy boyfriend. So it becomes problematic: Who is the stalker? And who the femme fatale?
This one was a lot of fun.
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
This is Coleman's third appearance in this space. Here is how it starts.
Most places in this state, it’s the wrong side of the tracks. Not in Brixton, no sir. In Brixton it’s the wrong side of the river. That’s funny on its face, ’cause any sane fool’d be hard-pressed to make a case for there being much of a right side in Brixton, neither. Let’s just say that there’s a…righter side. That the folks on the righter side’s got access to better crank.
So we know right away this story isn't going to be about tea parties in an English village.
The narrator is Pete Frame and his best friend is Jack Clooney. Jack explains that his own family are "a bunch of born scumbags in charge of what we got comin'."
One of the reasons the two guys get along so well is that Pete and his girlfriend Becki provide a beard for Jack who pretends to be dating her, but is really interested in her brother. That is something Jack's father would never be able to accept and "He has a lot less trouble expressing his will than our Lord and Savior. He or one of his clan lay hands on you, there ain't no room for spiritual interpretation."
I am quoting a lot because the language is what makes this story so special and enjoyable.
Monday, January 13, 2020
Thanks to Kevin Tipple for a correction.
When I started reading this story I had a strange sense of deja vu. Not that I had red the story before, but something similar.
But don't call the plagiarism police just yet. The story I was thinking of was also written by Chris Knopf. In fact, this is his third appearance on this page.
Our nameless character is a pretty cheerful guy but he has some problems. Take Harry, for instance. Harry isn't a problem, exactly, but a symptom of one. You see, he is our protagonist's only friend, and he happens to be from another dimension, and not visible to anyone else.
So, yeah, the guy has problems.
Right now he is living in his summer home, a tarp next to the river in Old Lyme, Connecticut. His neighbors are a big squatter he calls the Grouchy Witch, and a newly arrived woman is younger and attractive.
But now he has a new problem, because the Witch doesn't like the newcomer. And she has a big knife...
Tuesday, January 7, 2020
On the day of the latest stock market crash, twenty-two people plunged to their deaths from New York City skyscrapers. One of them was pushed.
That's a nice opening, don'tcha think?
Alan Webster, our narrator, was part of a gang that robbed a casino. Everything went perfect except the casino turned out to be owned by the mob and the mob doesn't collect their insurance and shrug it off when that sort of thing happens.
So they all went into hiding. Alan is in Australia when he hears that Fred supposedly jumped out a window. He doesn't believe it so he decides to be proactive, so to speak, by heading back to New York and convincing the mob that he is too much trouble to kill.
There is, it seems to me, a significant plot hole in the story (how did X find out about Y?) but it didn't keep me from enjoying it.