two recent(ish) crime shorts

Crime fiction! Both available online.

“Random Blonde”

I’ve been bitter a long time. It’s like sucking a wedge of lemon on and on and on, pulp disintegrating, everything dissolving until the flavor turns mellow and mild, almost sweet…

read Random Blonde

& “Is a Goodboy”

“Huck is a gooddog. Huck is suchagooddog. Have his people forgotten whatagooddog Huck is?”

read “Is a Goodboy”

New Canadian NOIR

includes "Three-Step Program" by Alex C. Renwick
includes “Three-Step Program” by Alex C. Renwick

Hellyeah! Exile’s NEW CANADIAN NOIR is a thing! Includes my Montreal noir short story “Three-Step Program.” I hereby dub this one Mo-No, a thrilling new frontier in pulp fiction.

From the release:

Old vines and older grudges tangle in the Okanagan Valley. An elderly widow, eking out a living collecting detritus, seeks to avenge the murder of her friend. A love-weary security guard clashes with bounty hunters. An ursine meth-cooker faces even stranger creatures on the frozen tundra of Nunavut. As the dead walk and the living despair, a private detective unravels a bizarre mystery. In The Exile Book of New Canadian Noir, the whole spectrum of the noir esthetic is explored: from its hardboiled home in crime fiction to its grim forays into horror, fantasy, and surrealism…

The Big Click, & a study in bête NOIR

the big click 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 theJackals-196x131 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.

The wolf manAdd 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.