“Requiem For A Spider” finds Reed Farrel Coleman’s well-known and much loved character Moe Prager roped into acting as combination backup/security blanket for an old friend at a meeting with a potential business partner…in the Russian Mafia. Proving that no good deed goes unpunished and people aren’t always who they seem to be, things go seriously sideways.
With their infant son in tow, Junior and his wife, Nina, travel the country in Matthew C. Funk’s “You Can Never Tell” systematically tracking down – and eliminating – all the old associates of Junior’s father in order to determine which one betrayed and killed him. Always one to push a story places you’re not quite expecting it to go, Funk takes the age-old concept of revenge and redemption and gives it a startling twist.
“Clouds in a Bunker” by David Cranmer finds the Spauldings in sad shape. His wife in full-blown dementia, WWI Veteran Ian decides to take her, hole up in their bomb shelter, and go out on their own terms when his own diagnosis of dementia threatens to tear the couple apart. Not convinced the old man is capable of actually causing harm to himself or his wife – he keeps interrupting negotiations to check the teakettle for goodness sake – the police find the situation more annoying than threatening. Cranmer gives both the police and the reader quite the eye-opener.
“A Corpse by Any Other Name” by Naomi Johnson. “I was wrong to think that if I just gave you an opportunity, you two could pull off a simple job without turning it into a fucking Keystone Kops movie.” Wickedly dark humor abounds in this cautionary tale of how deadly a combination WhitePages.com, MapQuest, and two criminals with IQs on the wrong side of the Bell Curve can be.
“Zed’s Dead, Baby” by Eric Beetner. What’s a well intentioned enforcer to do when he’s sent out on a little tune-up job only to find everyone keeps telling him the target, Zed, is dead? Convinced Zed’s putting one over on everyone, including him, the intrepid enforcer commandeers the “dead” Zed’s car and begins cutting a path of destruction through his known associates in effort to prove it.
“A Night At The Royale” by Chris F. Holm. “They should have known better than to talk during a movie.” Wonderfully understated, this one brings to life a fantasy I’m sure more than a few have played out in their minds regarding annoying people in theaters, as “the man in black” uses his special skills to educate two obnoxious patrons on proper movie viewing etiquette.
You’ll also find outstanding entries from other crime fiction heavy hitters, including Allan Guthrie, Hilary Davidson, Paul D. Brazill, AJ Hayes, Richard Godwin, Patti Abbott, Jason Duke, Ian Ayris, Chris Rhatigan, Nigel Bird and many others.