West Coast Crime Wave by Brian Thornton, Editor

West Coast Crime WaveMichael Wolf founded digital publishing house BSTSLLR in order to provide authors with an “author-friendly, forward-thinking” outlet for their work, and BSTSLLR has come charging out of the gate with their first offering, West Coast Crime Wave.

Featuring both award-winning, best selling authors as well as some very talented newcomers, West Coast Crime Wave‘s eighteen stories take place from Alaska to L.A., and everywhere in between.

Though every story in the collection is well worth the price of admission, there were a few that particularly leapt off the page for me.

“The Last Ship” by Bill Cameron starts the collection of with a bang when a retired police officer checks into a remote B&B in Oregon to recharge his batteries following a run-in with the business end of a biker’s gun. He gets more than he bargained for, finding himself caught up in the conflicts of the eccentric owner and the B&B’s few full-time residents. Drugs, nefarious wrangling for power of attorney, and a local legend involving a faerie ship – yes, you read that correctly – combine to make this atmospheric entry both very entertaining and very creepy.

“Blind Date” by Scotti Andrews – When Kim heads out to Starbucks to meet a blind date she’s got a bad feeling it’s not going to go well. Little could she have known just how badly it would go. Mistaken identity, a very large knife, Kim’s cop instincts, and a crowded coffee house add up to the worst blind date in history.

“Returning to the Knife” by David Corbett – This stream-of-consciousness entry almost defies description. In broad strokes, an internet-based pillow merchant appears to be giving a rambling confession to a horrible crime – “The knife, yes, I’m getting to that. Keep your horses on.” – while in what we presume to be police custody. Or is he just admitting to providing epically poor customer service based on an extremely misguided business model? I absolutely adored this frenetically creative offering from Corbett.

“Fred Menace, Commie for Hire” by Steve Hockensmith – Hired to locate a screenwriter who’s gone missing on the eve of testifying before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, private investigator Fred Menace brings his unique pro-Marx, anti-bourgeois capitalism perspective to bear on the case. With his customary tongue planted firmly in cheek style, author Hockensmith serves up a semi-hardboiled story that manages to offer both an intriguing missing persons mystery as well as a serious spoof of old-school P.I. stories.

“Jackie Boy” by Sam Roseme – Exiled from the East Coast when his working relationship with the mob goes south, private investigator Jackie Giacomo heads out to sunny California to set up shop. Hired by a mysterious firm to keep tabs on the CEO of a huge medical systems corporation, Jackie settles into his usual routine of surveillance. Things take a decided turn for the surreal when Jackie not only witnesses the CEO’s murder, but subsequently finds himself plastered all over the news as the prime suspect. Now Jackie has to stay one step ahead of both the law and the killer in order to figure out who set him up.

“Officer Down” by Simon Wood – When police officer Webber is shot twice in the chest by a perp, with his own weapon no less, his bullet proof vest prevents any serious damage to his body. His mind, however, isn’t so lucky. Despite being cleared by the department shrink to return to duty, Webber finds himself obsessed with finding the young thug who shot him – and his missing service piece – before either of them can do more damage. And even though he knows his brothers in blue are doing everything possible to close the case, Webber believes he has to take care of business himself if he ever wants to be whole again, as a police officer or a man. “Officer Down” is a powerful look at the lengths people will go to in order to silence their inner demons.

With cover art by contributor Bill Cameron and a foreword from the legendary Ken Bruen, the complete West Coast Crime Wave lineup includes stories from: Scotti Andrews, Steve Brewer, Bill Cameron, David Corbett, Ted Hertel, Naomi Hirahara, Steve Hockensmith, Thomas Hopp, R.T. Lawton, Terrill Lee Lankford, Doug Levin, Nick Mamatas, Sam Roseme, Karla Stover, Jim Thomsen, Brian Thornton, Jim Winter and Simon Wood.

West Coast Crime Wave is available for $3.99 from BSTSLLR at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Editor Brian Thornton’s fiction has appeared in such venues as Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, the late, lamented Bullet UK and the Akashic Books anthology Seattle Noir. He is the author of several works of non-fiction, including a piece on Ross MacDonald that appeared in the anthology “A Hell of a Woman: An Anthology of Female Noir”, books such as “Honest Abe: 101 Little-Known Truths about Abraham Lincoln”, “The Book of Bastards: 101 Scoundrels and Scandals from the World of Politics and Power”, and his most recent work, “The Book of Ancient Bastards: 101 of the Worst Miscreants and Misdeeds from Ancient Sumer to the Enlightenment”. A native Washingtonian, he lives in Seattle with his wife, the writer Robyn Thornton.
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  • Michael Wolf

    November 5, 2011 - 10:26 am

    Thank you Elizabeth for taking time to review our book. It was the product of some great writers and a wonderful editing job by Brian Thornton.

    I encourage folks to stop by http://mysteryanthology.com to read author interviews and more about the book (and future collections).

  • Sabrina Ogden

    November 4, 2011 - 10:08 am

    Sounds like some great stories are in this one. And names I’m not familiar with make it all the more intriguing. Great review, Elizabeth.