Showing posts with label Allyn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Allyn. Show all posts

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Girls in the Fourth Row, by Doug Allyn

"The Girls in the Fourth Row," by Doug Allyn, in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine,March/April 2019.

This is Allyn's fourth appearance here.

I don't know if I would call it a subgenre exactly but there is a type of crime story known as the didactic mystery, in which the setting becomes part of the story.  Dick Francis, for example, taught you something about horseracing in every book, but especially in the latter novels he would also inform you about a different industry: glassblowing, liquor, investment banking.

Doug Allyn is a form rock-and-roller and this story is about Murph, leader of an over-the-hill heavy metal, struggling to keep them all alive, functional, and headed down the road to the next paycheck.  This gets complicated when, during a gig in Detroit, someone fires three shots at the lead guitarist, wiping out his Stratocaster and almost taking him with it.  Or maybe the guitarist wasn't the intended target...

To get his band back on the road Murph needs to help the lieutenant dig into the past to find a potential killer, before he strikes again.  A satisfying story.




Sunday, August 4, 2013

Borrowed Time, by Doug Allyn

"Borrowed Time," by Doug Allyn, in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, September/October 2013.

The word "prequel" was apparently coined by Anthony Boucher in the 1950s, but I first heard it twenty years later when someone had the unfortunate idea of making a movie about Butch and Sundance before things started to get messy for them.

Prequels are one of those ideas that tend to sound better than they turn out.  (Cough, cough, Star Wars)  But as always the proof is in the pudding.

This story is a prequel to "Wood Smoke Boys," which made a lot of best-of lists last year, including mine.  "Boys" is about  Dylan LaCrosse, a cop in the north territory of Michigan.  In the present story we learn about the circumstances that caused him to leave the Detroit Police Department and retreat back to his home turf in the north.

And the circumstances involve taking a bullet in the head in the middle of the kind of hellish cop's nightmare in which there can be no good action to take.  LaCrosse survives the injury and is booted out of the force.  Now to survive he has to deal with crooked cops and missing money.

A very satisfactory prequel.  Maybe George Lucas should have hired Doug Allyn.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Downsized, by Doug Allyn

"Downsized," by Doug Allyn, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, March 2013.

Trish is a reporter, just laid off from the Detroit Free Press.  Her friend Jane, still employed there, suggests they start a lunch club, mostly for laid-off reporters.  And things go nicely until one member, Grace, brings a friend from church.

Mrs. Alva Warren was pushing sixty, a heavyset widow in a flowered dress.  I doubted she'd stay fifteen minutes.

But stay she did.  And when one of the members suspects that her husband is having an affair Mrs. Warren reveals some surprising aspects of her past and philosophy.

"In my daddy's time we had a few more options."

"What options?" Grace asked.

"Justifiable homicide for one," Mrs Warren said lightly.

I may be giving the wrong impression; this is not a light story and it only gets grimmer.  But it is worth a read.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Wood-Smoke Boys by Doug Allyn

"Wood-Smoke Boys," by Doug Allyn, in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, March/April 2012.



When I was ten years old, my favorite uncle murdered my favorite aunt.

Thus begins a wonderfully-written story of country folk versus city folk in the north woods of Michigan.  Dylan LaCrosse is the narrator and his back woods family suffers some terrible times, but they don't suffer quietly, which leads to the local warning: "Never cross a LaCrosse."

Now Dylan is a cop and state police are coming in to investigate the murder of a state legislator who caused tragedy to the LaCrosse family.  Can Dylan stay alive and solve the puzzle?  And whose side is he on?

Two more wonderful lines from the story:


In the deep woods, amid the shadows and feral silences, man's place atop the food chain is still up for debate.

The kid's mentally challenged.  His rat-bastard brothers use him for a guard dog to save the price of Alpo.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Little Big News: Edgar Winner

Congratulations to Doug Allyn for winning the Mystery Writer of America Edgar Award for best short story of the year.

"The Scent of Lilacs" –

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Doug Allyn (Dell Magazines)