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Current Issue Highlights

May/June 2024

The May/June 2024 issue of EQMM shows off the creative drive of characters in many artistic realms—and reminds us that this type of passion can lead to crime. Doug Allyn’s Upper Peninsula contractor can’t resist the opportunity to take on a historic renovation, but he isn’t the only one interested in “Capone’s Castle.” “Where’s Dookie?” by Gregory Fallis involves a unique visual-arts practice, and “Bermuda Triangle” by Michael Bracken a priceless musical instrument. “Blood and Butter” by Tyler Fiecke hits the “hot” spot of the culinary arts, and once again Antonia Darcy’s crime-writing career gets her caught up in a mystery in R.T. Raichev’s “Blind Witness.”

“A New Weariness” by Anna Scotti is another major turning point for her librarian on the run, and it involves movie-making, while “Maternity Leave” by LaToya Jovena involves a character’s love of fashion and her book club.

In “Seppuku” by Geneviève Blouin (Passport to Crime), an outcast Montreal detective takes a look at “a death scene resembling a contemporary work of art,” and upstages her colleagues, while in Josh Pachter’s “Texas Kinda Attitude,” a P.I. and music lover helps out the owner of a local laundromat. Bill Pronzini’s protagonist in “Friends” deals with a frame—but not the type you’d put a painting in, while Michael Kardos’s “Quick Change” involves the art of magic.

Celestial bodies may be traditional muses, but in Randall Silvis’s “And the Moon Disappears,” things go awry from the start. Artificial intelligence seems to find its own inspiration and proves dangerous in Twist Phelan’s “Artificial Hearts.”

Several of this issue’s stories center around bullies—with very different outcomes: “The Legend of Penny and the Luck of the Draw Casino” by Pat Gaudet (Department of First Stories), “The Low Waters” by Larry D. Sweazy (Black Mask department), and “Dark Thread, Loose Strands” by Art Taylor.

Rounding out the issue is a tale full of dark humor (“When Baptists Go Bad” by H. Hodgkins, in the Department of First Stories). And you won’t want to miss a true crime case from Dean Jobb that shines a light on the creative conman Gaston Means—plus, the results of the 2023 EQMM Readers Award contest!

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Capone’s Castle
by Doug Allyn

“Slow down,” Puck said. “There’s something in the road.”

I backed off the gas a tad. The old-timer was right. A quarter-mile ahead, a whitetail doe was sprawled across my lane. Doornail dead. Her neck was twisted at an impossible angle, spindly legs snapped like twigs. A purplish smear stretched a full thirty feet behind her carcass. Whatever clipped her had dragged her a ways. Log hauler, maybe. An ugly way to die.  READ MORE

Quick Change
by Michael Kardos

“James, I consider you a friend and a worthy companion,” Suzanna Mudd told me, an assessment that sounded, coming from her lips, less like praise and more like prelude to an indictment. Long ago, we had played marbles together in the dirt. For years, we walked the last three blocks to school together. In class, I was the only student from whom she deemed worthy of cheating. The feeling was reciprocal. Outside of school, we didn’t socialize, a fact that accounted for my perfect attendance. I dreaded graduation. READ MORE


by Geneviève Blouin

Translated from the French by Margaret Sankey
Stepping out of her car, Miuri feels a wave of despondency wash over her. The sky above is gloomy, the building in front of her is gray, and the case she’s going to be handed when she enters it will be just as dull. She sacrificed three years of her life to become a detective sergeant here in Quebec, where her father is from. Thirty-six months of useless schoolwork, repetitive professional development courses, and boring patrols, all supposedly to teach her the job that she already did for five years in Tokyo. One thousand and eighty-five days of bureaucratic rigmarole, after which she is still treated as a novice, a misfit, a foreigner. They only ever give her the crappiest investigations. READ MORE


The Low Waters
by Larry D. Sweazy

The rented one-bedroom house sat on the lip of a dry South Texas canyon. In summer, the blazing sun beat down on the house’s corrugated metal roof unobstructed by trees, shadows, or the will to plant anything that might provide shade in the future. Paint of any kind was a quarter of a century old; faded, dull, a vanishing yellow frame. The wood siding was wind-beaten, tired, already gray, pocked with termite holes that had been stuffed with old shop rags. Moths ate at the oily cloth, littering the floor with tiny cotton shreds. Mice insulated their generational nests in the thin, decaying walls and lived the best life of them all. READ MORE


When Baptists Go Bad
by H. Hodgkins

First I saw that snake-green car, long and low and not quite Christian. Next I noticed the intense dark eyes in the face of our new Baptist pastor, Raymond Lee Makepeace. Of course, soon as Pastor Makepeace opened the door I began scanning the parsonage living room to see what our previous minister stole. READ MORE


2023 Readers Award Winners
What stood out most about the Readers Award ballots returned to us for 2023 was the number of comments accompanying the votes. We’re happy to report that the vast majority of the feedback was favorable, even inspiring to us, for nothing pleases us more than knowing EQMM’s readers have enjoyed the year’s selections. Your choices this year ran the gamut of the genre, from an historical homage to a crime classic to a heart-stopping short short dealing with a very contemporary crisis—with a thoroughly engaging tale of a scam with unexpected consequences in between. READ MORE


Jury Box
by Steve Steinbock

The word “pastiche” is commonly understood as an imitation of another author’s creation. It comes from the Latin word for pie (pasticium), from which we also get such words as “pastry,” “pasta,” and “paste.” A pastiche is a literary collage, a pasting together of elements from one source used as ingredients to create a new one. Two novels that recently landed on my desk deserve attention for their effective blending of characters, styles, and clues in ways that celebrate their sources. READ MORE

Blog Bytes
by Kristopher Zgorski

Billing themselves as “where new writers begin,” Valley of Writers ( truly is a one-stop shop for emerging artists interested in a writing career. Here visitors will find a multitude of tools and resources designed to lay a strong foundation for the journey ahead. This means help with the craft of writing, but also with the business side of writing. There are features on the benefits and challenges of technology, how to engage in the overall literary community, and even links to open calls and contest opportunities where newer writers can begin to make their mark.  READ MORE

Stranger Than Fiction: Preview
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

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