Spring is ahead of us, and EQMM’s March/April 2018 issue brings you the freshest new short crime and mystery fiction. Stop and smell the roses—or seasonal harvests not so sweet—with MWA Grand Master Peter Lovesey in “Reader, I Buried Them,” set in an urban monastery, and with G.M. Malliet in the surprising “Victory Garden.” Get outdoors with a cop who faces a water-bound test in Brendan DuBois’s “The Submarine of Walker Lake”; on a mountain hike that spurs an amateur to pursue his friend’s case, in Thomas Przybilka and Gitta List’s Passport to Crime tale “Rest In Peace”; and with a mother and her wayward son at a seashore resort in Susan Perry Benson’s “Rip Currents.”
The cold wind lingers in Josh Pachter’s short-short “A Young Man’s Game,” and another contest holds sway in the finale to Chris Muessig and Steve Seder’s wrestling trilogy “One Fall to a Finish.”
Organized crime can seem impregnable, but characters find ways to combat it in “The Wedding Ring” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (about a conman and his identity-theft crew) and “Health and Safety” by Liza Cody, a thriller with a culinary twist. Watch the hierarchy of organized crime play out in “Tigers and Flies” by Cath Staincliffe and “Avenging Angel” by John Lantigua, and match wits with a serial killer in “Bench Mark” by Marilyn Todd (featuring Ancient Rome’s Claudia Seferius).
It doesn’t get fresher than the Department of First Stories, and there Samantha Allen spins a tale of a recent widow in a struggling rura
EQMM’s May/June issue opens with a powerful Valhalla story by eleven-time Readers Award winner Doug Allyn (“Big Blue Marble”), and we’re delighted to present, among the issue’s other varied selections, five puzzle mysteries. In Passport to Crime, a contemporary master of the classical mystery, Paul Halter, works his magic in a plot involving a string of arsons (“The Fires of Hell”). The Department of First Stories contains two whodunits: Sherry Lalonde’s tale of theft in a botanical garden (“Garden-Variety Criminal”) and Maaja Wentz’s story of murder in a pitch-dark restaurant (“Inside of a Dog”). For locked room fans there’s Carlos Orsi’s “The Glass Floor,” and R.T. Raichev’s Antonia Darcy fans are sure to enjoy “A Chronicle of Deaths Foretold.”
With colleges soon to let out, two stories remind us of the mischief summer jobs can lead to: Peter Sellers’s “The Cooler” and Steve Hockensmith’s “Where the Strange Ones Go.” Atmosphere is key in Benjamin Percy’s intriguing “Suspect Zero,” in which a body journeys atop a freight-train car, and in Tim Baker’s Black Mask entry “Fatal Fog,” in which death stalks the Italian countryside. Two short shorts, Susan Dunlap’s “A Day at the Beach” and William Hallstead’s “Booked,” feature cunning cops, and a P.I. and crook match wits in Richard Helms’s “The King of Gonna.”
Familial and romantic relationships prove the biggest mysteries in narratives by Bill Pronzini (“A Time of Fury,” a twisty revenge thriller), Hilary Davidson (“Answered Prayers,” a beware-what-you-wish-for tale); and Marjorie Eccles (“The Painter’s Wife,” a historical set in Bruges).
Two stories focus on outsiders and the haunting unintended consequences of isolation: Hollis Seamon’s “It’s Never Just the Wind,” set during an upstate New York winter, and E. Gabriel Flores’s “La Loca Bella,” set in the Dominican Republic.
Finally, don’t miss our review columns, a Stranger Than Fiction preview, and the 2017 EQMM Readers Award announcement!l community, in “Some Kind of Lonely.” Watch a child take on an emotional case when his friend goes missing, in the harrowing “Sofee” by David Dean, and listen to a young narrator recount her exploits in Margaret Maron’s “The Last Man I Killed.”
Finally, treat yourself to “Cleopatran Cocktails” by William Burton McCormick and “Faceless Killer” by Christine Poulson, two unique stories from uncommon points of view. The March/April issue will get you ready for the season to turn—don’t miss it!
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by Doug Allyn
Screw the railrode pigs!
Ricardo Ramos, a.k.a. Ricky Rattle-can, took a step back to admire his handiwork. Freakin’ magnifico! The tag line he’d sprayed on the tanker car in neon green italics screamed its rage in streetwise style. Slick shading, phat calligraphy. Okay, okay, maybe the railroad misspell was a little bit over the top—
by Marjorie Eccles
Anna van Doorn sits in the shadows on a high-backed chair in the Flemish house, watching him as he stands back, palette and brush in hand, absorbed, lost to everything except his work: her elderly husband, the painter, fifty years old in this year of Our Lord 1640. Anna is little more than a third of his age, and has been married to him for eight months. READ MORE
by Tim Baker
The road was elevated three meters above the fields on either side, the fog giving him the impression that he was flying through clouds, the occasional glimpse of black canals flashing off his high beams like great lakes viewed from the air.
The mist had already been heavy when Hastings left Milano just after four, the air salted with the tang of heating fuel and lignite. He found the car, a Type 34, exactly where Luchino said he would, in the Piazza Duca d’Aosta opposite the Excelsior, its high-gloss orange chassis sleek with humidity. READ MORE
Department of First Stories
by Sherry Lalonde
The spring night was cool as guests wended their way through the gardens towards the shining glass structure. The lights blazing from the tropical glasshouse guided them to its humid interior filled with warm bodies and lush plants.
Delphine stood off to the side of the well-heeled crowd. She patted the sleek wave of her brown hair and sighed. She was out of her element tonight; her work usually kept her researching in the library or working in a garden. READ MORE
Passport to Crime
by Paul Halter
The Hades Club was not, as the name might imply, a sanctuary for Satanists; on the contrary, it housed scourges of evil, Londoners versed in mysteries and sophisticated puzzles, such as the celebrated criminologist and private detective Dr. Alan Twist, a tall septuagenarian who was by now practically part of the furniture. Unhurried, he lit his pipe in a quiet corner of the large room. His thin features were briefly illuminated in a golden glow as he struck a match and brought it to his face. READ MORE
by Steve Steinbock
Twice since I began writing The Jury Box, I was a judge for a literary prize that celebrates suspense novels with female protagonists. Most of the books submitted for the award were also written by women. Reviewing the same book in this column that I’d judged for the contest would have put me in a conflict-of-interest gray area, so during the two years I served as judge, I didn’t review as many titles by female authors as I’d have liked. READ MORE
by Kristopher Zgorski
Career Authors (www.careerauthors.com) is a craft-focused writing blog featuring a who’s who of regular contributors from all aspects of the publishing industry. There are two successful authors in the mix: Hank Phillippi Ryan and Laura DiSilverio, but there are also representatives of the business side of the industry: Senior Editor Dana Isaacson, Literary Agent Paula Munier, and Digital Strategist Glenn Miller. READ MORE
by Dean Jobb
The realms of crime fiction and true crime have many intersections. Fiction writers often draw on real investigative techniques, police procedures, and even notorious crime cases in fashioning their stories, and, conversely, fictional sleuths and their methods have occasionally influenced the practices of actual police forces. READ MORE