Tuesday, November 17, 2009
"Before you can understand the story of the body in the falls and everything that happened after, you have to get a grip on the geography around here."
*** from Hollis Seamon's Al Blanchard Award winning story "Sleep is the New Death."
HANK: Don't you love to watch the previews of coming attractions at the movies? How those little snippets can tempt you! And how wonderful it is to be able to get such instant gratification. There, in thirty seconds or so, is a theme, a character, a highlight--and if you're lucky, a mystery.
Don't touch that dial. Here are your very own previews of coming attractions in the newest short story anthology from Level Best Books! It's called Quarry. Does that mean a precipitously deep crevasse from which you (or your victim?) may never emerge? Or the elusive subject in a criminal pursuit? Ah--it all depends on which story you're reading.
You should have seen the line at Crime Bake to purchase Quarry! (Anyone have photos?)
Oh, yes, you'll want this book--and you can get it right now by clicking here.
Or hey...take a moment, if you dare, and step into the...Quarry.
****Mike Wiecek lives in Boston-- he's won a Shamus and two Derringers.
Here's a taste of his story “The Gas Leak.”
When Sue Ann in dispatch got the 911, she called out the fire department, then immediately rang up the sheriff. Sue Ann knew that any action at the Granger place was unlikely to stop at firefighting. The sheriff didn’t answer, not surprising, considering it was lunchtime, but instead of phoning down to the diner, Sue Ann hunted around on the radio until she scared up a deputy. And that’s how Carleen Boyd, twenty years old and the town’s first-ever female officer, came to show up with the pumper and the ambulance and the fire chief’s old Blazer.
***Vincent O'Neil is the Malice-award winning author of the Frank Cole Mystery Series. Vinny's hilarious. And he lives in Rhode Island. His story is
"Finish the Job."
The girl came down the pole quickly, but with great stealth, a variety of electronic gadgets swinging from her utility belt as she descended. The heavy coveralls and baseball hat did not conceal the fact that she was athletic and pretty, or that she wore an impish smile when she finally touched he leaf-strewn ground.
"I know that look." The man turned his head, as if expecting bad news, his dark eyes staying fixed on the girl.
***My first short story. And I'm thrilled. Charlie McNally is nowhere in sight. Meet Rachel, in
“On The House”
"School? Family relationships? How does he get along with his mother? Does he have sisters? Do you have his bank records? What's his favorite food? Was he married before?"
By the time we'd finished, all the brie and crackers were gone. We'd given up tea for Chardonnay. Least I could do. And plan Get-Ron was underway. My divorce was going to happen. I was convinced.
And what's more, Camilla said I could watch.
***Joseph Souza lives in Portland Maine. In 2004, he won the Andre Dubus Award for short fiction. You've got to wonder what happens in
“The Devil’s Dumping Ground”
The corpse would be weighted down. Then we’d toss the poor stiff in, waiting long enough to hear the echo of splash far below. For years we ditched bodies in almost every quarry up here: Tit, Blue Rock, Goldfish, Rampa, to name just a few.
***Nancy Gardner is an experienced hand at publishing short stories. Her newest is the haunting
"Where There's Smoke"
She tucks wayward gray-red curls under the brim of her purple knit hat, rewraps the scarf, masking all but wary blue eyes. Eyes that flit to her lap, her mittens. Eyes that wince when she removes the mittens, reveals grotesquely burn-scarred hands, one of which she sets to work tracing a crimson rose embroidered on her bag.
***Stephen D. Rogers has published more than 500 stories and poems in 200 publications.
"Bottled Up" makes it 201.
My husband would kill me if he ever learned I was sitting in my cruiser with a bottle cradled between my thighs.
Why did I need a bottle of hot water? So I could prepare formula.
***This is Norma Burrows' third Level Best Anthology. (When I got to the end of this story, I burst out laughing. Be afraid. Be very afraid.)
“Confessions of a Telemarketer”
No one in their right mind would give a postal worker a hard time. Their tendency to go “postal” is well documented. However, it is socially acceptable to harass and be rude to telemarketers over the phone. I am here as a telemarketer to ask you, “Do you have a death wish?”
***Alan McWhirter is a criminal defense trial attorney from Connecticut. This is his first published short story, too. But I bet it won't be his last.
“Don’t Call Me Simon”
I have this fantasy where I get stuck in an elevator with the most gorgeous girl in the world. It might have happened that day in the Ebony if Plain Jane hadn’t beaten out Gorgeous to the lift. The fates weren’t with me or with Gorgeous. On a good day fantasies come true. On a bad day, they end in murder.”
Oh, there are so many more. Judy Copek's "Bad Trip." Steve Liskow's "Little Things." And--with a nod to The Lady or the Tiger?--Glenda Baker's The Verdict.
Congratulations to the Level Best gang! This book is a treasure. (Click here to see the whole list of wonderful writers.) All of the stories are terrific--all about New England, and all from, as Level Best puts it, "writers who together have been nominated for or won all the major awards for crime fiction." We promise a couple of them will surprise even the most experienced readers. And Quarry is the best possible stocking (or fishnet) stuffer for your favorite mystery-lover.
Better get your copy soon. Just click..here.
(Thinking about writing a short story yourself? The editors are standing by to answer your questions. And what's your favorite short story ever? Let us know--and you'll be entered to win a free copy of Quarry. TWO winners tomorrow!)
Also tomorrow--a visit from Canada! And fair warning: Get out your handkerchiefs.)