Showing posts with label Howe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Howe. Show all posts

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Downhill Slide, by Jeff Howe

"Downhill Slide," by Jeff Howe, in Moon Shot, edited by J. Alan Hartman, Untreed Books, 2013.

This book is a collection of science fiction mysteries (which gives me a chance to write about genre crossovers next Wednesday at SleuthSayers).  One frequent complaint about combining these two fields is that you can't write a fairplay mystery in a science fiction world, because the reader can't know enough about the environment.  This is a fairplay story, of sorts, and you will have to decide whether it follows the rules.

At first the plot sounds like one of those gook luck/bad luck jokes.

A miner gets killed on an asteroid, and that's bad.

But someone confessed, and that's good.

Except it turns out that the confessed killer couldn't have done it, and that's bad.

However, a detective is heading to the scene of the crime to interview the other suspects, and that's good.

But there aren't any other suspects.  No one else on the whole asteroid.  And that's -- well, that stinks.

There are some lovely twists in this story, including one that I seem to remember from a science fiction movie of a few years back.  But to be fair (there's that word again) I still didn't see it coming.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Losing It, by Melodie Johnson Howe

"Losing It," by Melodie Johnson Howe, in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, August 2012.

To be honest, I am not a great fan of the subgenre of stories about mousy women being abused, physically or emotionally, by bullying men.  Just not my cup of tea.

But my friend Melodie made me a believer in this one, largely because the story is so twisty it makes a corkscrew look like a knitting needle.

Callie Taylor is the mouse in question, a manicurist.  Mike is the boyfriend, supposedly working on a screenplay, but apparently only working on the groceries Callie brings home on her paycheck.

One night Callie rebels against her life by spending a thousand dollars she can't afford on a shawl.  Mike hates it because it keeps her from looking "normal," the ordinary person he wants her to be.

And then, late one night in a bar, she loses the shawl.  And worse, one of her wealthy customers shows up wearing the shawl - complete with the tears Mike's dog put in it.  How can Callie get it back without losing her job?

That's where I have to stop, so as not to reveal any twists.  Let's just say, whatever you think is going to happen, you're wrong.

But you'll have a very good time being wrong.