I’ve guest-edited an issue of the electrifying electronic crime magazine The Big Click. The exact circumstances surrounding the genesis of my guest editorial gig are lost in a distant cocktail-tinted haze, but I recall Nick Mamatas in the bar at World Horror Con in Portland last year saying something along the lines of, “You wanna guest-edit an issue? Sure! How ’bout January? And do a theme. Themes are good.”
This led to that, and that led to me acquiring stories from two of the most incredible short fiction writers currently slinging stories in the field: Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Ray Vukcevich.
I had recently finished heading up the Sunburst Award Jury, which had selected BC author Moreno-Garcia’s short fiction collection This Strange Way of Dying as one of the five most outstanding speculative fiction books in all of Canada, or written by any Canadian anywhere in the world, for the entire year prior. This debut collection kept company on our considerations list with Booker Prize winners and recipients of numerous other literary awards. It’s a huge honor to make a shortlist like that, and it was an honor and a joy to have read such a book. Her story “Jackals” lovingly treads that seductively weird, frightening line between what is and what shouldn’t be.
And anyone who pays attention to fiction emerging from this other coast (I’m squinting at you, New York, so far away) recognizes Vukcevich as another regional literary treasure. Also from the Pacific Northwest (though from the other side of the Peace Arch from Moreno-Garcia), Vukcevich’s short fiction collections are award-worthy themselves. His Big Click piece “All About the Ball” is an exercise in surreality, an offkilter crime story set in a swiftly tilting universe, centered on what is most definitely not your typical police interrogation.
Add to these two fabulous stories an interview with David Liss by Claude Lalumière, a peek review of Robert Crais’s Suspect, a deeply thoughtful examination of Patricia Highsmith’s The Animal-Lover’s Book of Beastly Murder, and an essay by noirist Barry Graham titled “Meeting the Werewolf.” This last opens with a quote from the 1941 film The Wolf Man: “Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright…”
Here’s my full editorial for the Bête NOIR issue of THE BIG CLICK.