Showing posts with label Dean. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dean. Show all posts

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Duelist, by David Dean

"The Duelist," by David Dean, in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, May/June 2019.

My friend and fellow SleuthSayer, David Dean, is making his fifth appearance here with a fine historical tale.

The time is pre-Civil War and the place is Natchez, Mississippi.  Captain Noddy has a habit of taking offense at innocent remarks by country bumpkins, and then taking their lives in duels.

Now a down-on-his-luck gambler named Darius LeClair has arrived in town and seems quite careless in talking to the dangerous captain.  Is he foolish or is he doing it on purpose?  Is he in fact a gambler or something quite different?

There are wheels within wheels here and the secrets keep unraveling right  to the end.  I enjoyed it a lot.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Mr. Kill-Me, by David Dean

"Mr. Kill-Me, by David Dean, in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, August 2015.

With this story by my SleuthSayers blogmate David Dean, it seems unnecessary to ask: where did you get your idea?  Anyone who has ever had a close call on the road will probably think they can guess.

Larry is a real estate agent in a shore town.  One day he backs his BMW out of a driveway and almost hits a man on a bicycle; a strange homeless-looking guy with angry eyes and a weird smile.  The biker disappears before Larry can confront him. 

A few days later, driving down the road, the biker pulls out in front of him again, seeming to demand to be run over.

What the hell is going on?  Is Larry imaging things?  Is someone plotting against him?  If so, what the hell is the purpose?

I should say I saw the end pages before it arrived, but it's a hell of a tale, and worth the trip.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Assumption of Seamus Tyrrell, by David Dean

"The Assumption of Seamus Tyrrell," by David Dean, in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine,  March/April 2014.

David Dean is having a good year.  For brother SleuthSayer is appearing in this space for the second time in a month.

Exhibit B, if you will, is his entry in EQMM's Black Mask Department, and a tough-as-nails piece it is. It begins in Florida where a hit man is having a very bad day.  He's being followed by a cop car and there is a packet of drugs sitting cozily on his passenger seat.  Things then turn much worse -- I won't tell you how, but it's a doozy -- and this sets up the rest of the story, which takes place in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

When Seamus Tyrrell walked into the backroom of the Shamrock Bar and Grill he understood that everything had changed in his absence.  In the few seconds that it took to push through the door, shout, "Hello, girls!" and set the satchel full of cash down on the sticky floor, everything he knew and trusted began to dissolve into a blur of action.

For some reason Seamus's boss and friends want him dead and make a concerted effort to achieve that goal.  Escaping by a narrow margin he has to figure out why this happened, and more importantly, how to change the equation. 

The Catholic Church often has a big role in Dean's stories, and this is true here, but that doesn't mean things get, shall we say, spiritual.  Last time I wrote about the hero of his story having a chance to redeem himself.  This time, not so much.   A gripping tale, worth reading.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Jenny's Ghost, by David Dean

"Jenny's Ghost" by David Dean, in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, June 2012.

After I read this story I asked my friend David if there was a crime in it.  He replied: "there is no crime in 'Jenny's Ghost'; only consequences."   But, he noted, there is a mystery.  Having thought about it, I decided there is a crime, of sorts. I'd be interested to know what you thought.

David wrote about the genesis of this story last month at SleuthSayers, but even if he hadn't I would have suspected it started with the location.

Picture the setting: you are in an airport, stuck in that endless half-life between flights and suddenly you spot something that can't possibly be there: a woman who died a decade before.  Hell of a set-up, isn't it?

David noted that this is a story about consequences.  Not surprisingly it is also about guilt, and the chance of redemption.  These are subjects for fiction I am very much drawn to.  (Hey, my CD is called Can I Blame You?)  David's stories often have a strong spiritual component.  (One of his recurring characters is a priest.)  As I said, there is a possibility of redemption at the end of this story.  Airports can seem like hell, but you don't have to stay in one forever.