Sunday, November 6, 2016
The publisher sent me a free ecopy of this book, and rudely, I forgot to mention their name last week. Thank you, Crime Syndicate Magazine.
Roberto runs an appliance repair shop in L.A. in the 1980s. That means occasionally a redfaced customer presents a video camera with a tape stuck in it. He or she wants it back but does NOT want Roberto to watch it.
And so he gets another amateur sex tape for his collection. But things get even better when he finds a way to profit off this sideline.
Ah, but an illicit sex act is not the only that can get recorded by a video camera, and inevitably, that's what happens in this twisty tale...
Sunday, May 29, 2016
I would say any writer who appears in this space twice in a year can think he's having a good year. That's not ego on my part; I would be happy if any non-relative thought I scored twice in one spin around the sun.
Mr. Bracken is making his second appearance at Little Big Crimes this month.
This story is about Samuel "Sugar" Cane, a Texas thug who has worked, since he was a crooked high school football player, for a crime boss named De La Rosa. As he goes about his daily work of collecting debts for the big man he meets a woman whose mother used to be his lover. Hmm..
A popular topic in writing circles is first person versus third. This story would be much less powerful if it were in first, or if we could tell what'd going on in Sugar's head. We ave to figure it out, which keeps the suspense high.
This story reminds me of Michael Koryta's "A People Person," which I wrote about here back in 2013. Both are about a thorough-going baddie who finds himself unexpectedly facing a line he may not be willing to cross.
And both are terrific stories.
Sunday, May 22, 2016
My fellow SleuthSayer Art Taylor scores in the first issue of this new mystery fiction magazine, although a purist might say this one is more science fiction than mystery. Actually, it's both.
The narrator is a salesman, trying to convince a family to buy a restoration service. You see, they take a DNA sample and occasional brain scans, and then, if heaven forbid, you should die violently, they can whip up a clone of you in under a month, and family bliss is restored. Only violent deaths; the ethicists forbid interfering with natural exits. But, you know, there is so much violence these days.
The wife is all for it. The husband (and from the salesman's point of view, they have and need no other identities) is extremely dubious. Can our hero close the sale?
Here is our salesman explaining his work:
Discretion was key. And indirection. Euphemisms helped. You didn't talk about death at all, didn't even use the word, much less talk explicitly about the man who was shot in the eye while walking to lunch, or the woman who was tortured for hours before she was killed, or the children who...
No. Let the prospective clients put it together on their own.
I thought I saw where this story was going and I was totally wrong, which pleased me greatly.