Showing posts with label Sisters in Crime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sisters in Crime. Show all posts

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Rozotica, by R.M. Greenaway

"Rozotica," by R.M. Greenaway, in The Dame Was Trouble, edited by Sarah L. Johnson, Halli Lilburne, and Cat McDonald, Coffin Hop Press, 2018.

This is a weird story.  By that I do not mean it is science fiction, or supernatural, or falls into all those bins we label "experimental fiction."  It just goes in many unexpected directions.  And that's a good thing.

It's 1973 and Heather is a waitress in Vancouver, B.C.  In fact she has been a waitress since tenth grade, and a virgin for much longer than that, and nothing seems likely to change.

Except for Milestone.  He's a hippy.  He likes her and he has a plan.  "You're the key.  It's your face.  It's perfect."

This is not a compliment, as it turns out.  Milestone has a scam in mind: convincing a bunch of investors that he has the latest thing in sex toys, a female-looking robot straight from Japan.  And Heather's not-quite-normal features make her the ideal prototype.  "You're kind of cold and synthetic looking," Milestone explains.  What girl could resist a come-on like that?

And so, having taken care of the virginity problem, they meet with a gang of pathetic men who are more interested in getting a realistic sex doll than they are in investing a bundle.  What could possibly go wrong?

While you are make a no doubt lengthy list of possible answers to that question, I will explain that several of them are about to happen.  But what makes the story truly interesting is what happens after things go pear-shaped.  I especially enjoyed the conversation near the end by two people trying to make sense of it all.

A fun and imaginative piece.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Canyon Ladies, by Sarah M. Chen

"Canyon Ladies," by Sarah M. Chen, in Sisters in Crime Los Angeles presents LAdies Night, edited by Naomi Hirahara, Kate Thornton, and Jeri Westerson, Down and Out Books, 2015. 

Before we get to the main order of business, may I grumble a bit?  No one has ever been able to stop me before, so I guess I can. 

This is always an awkward time of year for me.  I have run out of paper magazines to review.  That means I either have to buy paper copies of anthologies or get e-versions and in that case I need to drag my iPad to work to read them on my lunch hour.  Yeah, poor me.

None of this is a complaint about this book, which I am enjoying.  In fact, I am grateful to SIC-LA for publishing over the summer.  So many anthologies come out in late fall.  Just in time for Christmas shopping, sure, but a real bummer for people trying to finish their reviews of 2015 before 2016. 

Okay.  Kvetch over.

Speaking of kvetching, Chen's narrator has a reason or two to complain.  Shelby's husband has been caught in dirty business dealings and, although he was miraculously (and suspiciously) acquitted, the social world of Laurel Canyon has not forgiven him. His wife, innocent of any wrong-doing, is a social pariah.

Shelby's having a hard time coping.  "I looked in the mirror as I washed  my hands, and shame, wearing last season's bathing suit, stared back at me.  I bet this is how the fat girl in school felt like every day."

But she a plan for vengeance.  The question is: on whom, exactly?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Their Little Secret, by Anita Page

"Their Little Secret," by Anita Page, in  Murder New York Style: Family Secrets, edited by Anita Page, Glenmere Press, 2014.

Full disclosure: The editor of this book sent me a free copy.  The editor, as it happens, is the author of my favorite story in the book.  So you have to decide whether I can be bought off with a free paperback.  (Hint: I generally refuse to sell my soul for less than a new hardcover.  Inflation.)

This anthology, by the way, was created by the New York/Tri State Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

The story is about a disfunctional family and focuses on fifteen-year-old Cassie, the only child.  Her parents don't get along so well.

Cassie, expert reader of moods and body language, figured they were minutes away from the Sunday  night fight.

Cassie's mother - drunken, mean, and blatantly unfaithful - has decided that she and her daughter are going off to Long Island for the summer, even though her husband can't get away.  Cassie ain't thrilled.  "I call this hell."

Things get bad.  Then they get worse.  The whole story is good but what makes it a winner for me is one sentence on the last page.  I wouldn't call it a twist ending, but it is a neat sting that gives us a new persective on what has gone on before. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tell Me About Your Day, by Lynne Lederman

"Tell Me About Your Day," by Lynne Lederman,  in Murder New York Style - Fresh Slices, edited by Terrie Farley Moran, L&L Dreamspell, 2012.

This nifty piece starts out as noir and goes elsewhere.  The narrator is a recovering substance abuser who is trying to be a better person (and if that isn't a formula for a classic noir character, I don't know what is).  He is living in a dumpy apartment, going to AA and NA and making a point of visiting his only living relatives, a niece and her daughter.  The result is that when the niece is murdered the cops and social workers bring the traumatized little girl to him.  They are hoping that a familiar face might encourage her to report something about the unknown killer.

And that leaves our hero trying to figure out how to fit a kid into his tiny, miserable life.

Damn.  Can't smoke with the kid here.  He reomved the cigatette and contemplated it.  Can't go outside, can't leave her.  Realy too cold to hang out the window, let aone sit on the fire escape. She'd know, anyway.  He shredded it into the ashtray. Have to get rid of that, and the matches.  Weren't little kids always playing them, starting fires?

The whole story is in the man's head, trying to sort through his growing responsibilities and limited possibilities.  Then there is an unexpected turn, a clever bit of deduction that suggests there might be a ray of hope ahead.

Nice piece of work. 


Monday, November 19, 2012

Only People Kill People, by Laura K. Curtis

"Only People Kill People," by Laura K. Curtis, in Murder New York Style - Fresh Slices, edited by Terrie Farley Moran, L&L Dreamspell, 2012.

Been working through this anthology produced by the New York chapter of Sisters In Crime.  Curtis takes a unique viewpoint in her story: the narrator is a gun.

For eight years, it was my honor to serve and protect Sam Bradley, his family, and his employers  Sam took care of me, and I took care of him...

But this is a crime story so things have to go bad for Sam and his gun.  Original idea, well written.