Showing posts with label Dubois. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dubois. Show all posts

Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Submarine of Walker Lake, by Brendan DuBois

"The Submarine of Walker Lake," by Brendan DuBois, in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, March/April 2018.

Correction made, thanks to Kevin Tipple.

Great title, huh?  This is DuBois' seventh appearance in this blog, which ties him with Terence Faherty.  It's not a typical DuBois story, being funnier and shorter than I am used to from him.

Sean Sullivan, our narrator, is an ex-Bostn cop, having lost his job in a reshuffle after a scandal.  The only job he could find was as a patrolman in a small town called Walker, New Hampshire.  He is still getting used to the place and the pace, and when some odd assignments come in he isn't sure whether someone is pranking the new boy.

For example Lon Kotkin claims he has seen a submarine in Walker Lake.  Is he nuts, Sullivan asks the chief.  "Compared to what?" is the reply.

I won't spoil the best line in the story by repeating it here, but it involves a bad guy asking a classic question and getting a rather startling reply.

It's a fun tale.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Battlefield Reunion, by Brendan DuBois

"A Battlefield Reunion," by Brendan DuBois, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, June 2016.

The June issue of AHMM is awfully good, making it hard for me to pick winners. That's a better problem than the occasional weeks when I can't find a story I enjoy, so I won't complain.
 
This marks DuBois' sixth appearance in this space, tying him with Terence Faherty for first place.

It's 1946 in Boston.  Billy Sullivan is a private eye with a guilty conscience because, as an Army MP, he spent most of the war out of harm's way, while his brother died in the infantry.

His client, Ronny Silver, is also having trouble with dealing with his war memories.  But he recently spotted someone he knew from his time in Europe, a war correspondent who had promised to send the G.I.s photos.  Ronny thinks if he can get those pictures he won't forget his buddies who died.  Can  Sullivan help him find the reporter?

If you have read any private eye fiction it won't be a spoiler if I tell you there is more going on than what appears on the surface.  Interesting twists, interesting characters...



Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Crossing, by Brendan Dubois

"The Crossing," by Brendan DuBois, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, January-February, 2015.

So a trio of mobsters decide to slip out of the country a few hours ahead of an indictment.  A seaplane lands them on an island on a lake by the Canadian border.  Now they just have to wait for their friend to arrive with a boat to slip them across.

Sure, there is a resident on the island, but she's just a beautiful young woman, grading papers.  Surely she can't cause any trouble for three armed hoodlums.

What could possibly go wrong?

This is Mr. DuBois's fifth appearance in my best-of-the-week column.  I guess I like his stuff.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Crush Depth, by Brendan Dubois

"Crush Depth," by Brendan DuBois, in Mystery Writers of America present Ice Cold: Tales of Intrigue from the Cold War, 2014.

Hard time choosing between two very different stories this week, both in Ice Cold, and both excellent.  Sara Paretsky's "Miss Bianca" is about intrigue in a biological research lab, as seen through the eyes of a child.  "Crush Depth" is a look back at a genuine mystery of American military history, offering a possible explanation.  The first is cute, the latter is grim.  What finally decided me was their surprise endings.  Paretsky's seemed tacked on, while Dubois's was a genuine twist, putting a new light on everything that went before.


In "Crush Depth" it is a year after the Soviet Union collapsed and an intelligence agent named Michael is hanging around the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, naval yard, trying to make contact with someone who knows the truth behind a naval tragedy from the 1960s.

Michael thought it ironic that his work and the work of so many others was still going on, despite peace supposedly breaking out everywhere.

Cold war or hot war, there was always plenty of work to be done...

True and sad enough. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Plow Guy, by Brendan DuBois

"The Plow Guy," by Brendan DuBois, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, July/August 2014.

Henry Conway has a somewhat eccentric plan for his retirement.  He wants to move to a small town in New Hampshire, buy a dog for company, and plow people's driveways.  Seems easy enough, but he runs into a couple of problems, especially a man who beats his wife, a problem Henry isn't willing to ignore.

But Henry has an interesting skill set.  Did I mention what work he retired from?  Neither does he, exactly.

I chose my retirement home like I was planning for an overseas op.  Oops, I meant to say, setting up a budget spreadsheet.  Or a request for proposals.  Or something innocent like that.

Oddly enough, I enjoyed the story more before the inevitable conflict came along.  Henry is an interesting  fellow and, honestly, the bad guy just wasn't enough of a challenge for him.  But the writing is lovely.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Final Ballot, by Brendan Dubois

"The Final Ballot," by Brendan DuBois, in Mystery Writers of America presents Vengeance, edited by Lee Child, Mulholland Books, 2012.

Boy, I don't know if it's just the dog days of summer affecting my mood but I can tell you I have just loved  the last three stories I chose for this column.  Real stand-outs.

Beth knew in a flash that she was outgunned.  This man before her had traveled the world, knew how to order wine from a meny, wore the best clothes and had gone to the best schools, and was prominent in a campaign to elect a senator from Georgia as the next president of the Untied States.

She put the tissue back in her purse.   And her?  She was under no illusions.  A dumpy woman from a small town outside Manchester who had barely graduated from high school and was now leasing a small beauty shop in a strip mall.

That's not the opening of the story but it is the core of it.  Ms David, meet Mr. Goliath.

Beth's daughter was brutally attacked by a son of the senator/candidate.  The man-of-the-world described above is the problem solver.  "In other words, I'm the senator's bitch."  He offers her two choices which he insists on calling "avenues."  She can pursue prosecution of the senator's son, guaranteeing herself years of being stripped naked by the press, attacked by his supporters, dragged out as a symbol by his enemies... or she can agree to let the culprit get psychological treatment and accept financial aid from the senator to cover her daughter's long-term medical needs.

I won't spoil it by telling you what happens next.  But two old sayings apply:  Never fight with someone who has nothing to lose.  And: the most dangerous place in the world is between a mother and her children.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

His Daughter's Island, by Brendan DuBois

"His Daughter's Island," by Brendan DuBois, in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, July 2012.

Very nice piece opens the new issue of EQMM.  Zach Ford is a mild-mannered accountant in a small town in Maine.  His beloved daughter goes off to a party at the home of a millionaire and dies.  The millionaire's son is whisked out of the country, far from the possibility of justice.

In some stories the next step would be a whole lot of guns and blood, but Mr. Ford has a different idea.  He studies up on the millionaire, and then he studies the state and local ordinances.  And starts plotting a completely legal vengeance.

DuBois' story reminds me of one of my all-time favorites, "Privilege," by Frederick Forsyth.  Both are about a "little man" who uses lateral thinking to go after a foe who seems to powerful to attack.  Good piece.