EQMM’s March/April 2019 issue opens with “The Women Friends,” a powerful tale of friendship disrupted by terrorism, by Joyce Carol Oates. “Missing” women are at the heart of other stories, including a case for a rookie detective by R.J. Koreto (“The Girl on the Roof”) and another for a female police lieutenant by Carolyn Hart (“All Kinds of Fear”).
New and experienced officers clash in Bill Pronzini’s “Bug”—but this time it’s in a fire department investigating arson. Hell itself, though not its flames, is evoked in “The Helm of Hades,” a truly diabolical locked-room mystery by Paul Halter from our Passport to Crime department.
Unexpected allies—criminal and not—feature in the Department of First Stories’ striking “Call Me Chuckles” by Michael Cowgill and the Black Mask Department’s adventurous “The Road from Manzanar” by Harley Mazuk, while clues come from surprising places in Liza Cody’s compelling, character-driven “Life and Death in T-Shirts.”
Seemingly quiet lives take on sinister tones in “Papa’s Snowshoes” by Tom Tolnay, “Tom of Tinsley” by Peter Turnbull, and “Closing Doors” by Peter Sellers. Speaking of tones, a hard-rock life leads to danger for the band in Doug Allyn’s “The Girls in the Fourth Row,” and darkness also seeps onto the theater stage (in Lucy Ribchester’s “Mortal Thoughts”), the page (in John Lantigua’s new Willie Cuesta story about a famous writer, “Revenge of the Puma”), and the screen (in both Paul D. Marks’s Howard Hamm sequel “Fade Out on Bunker Hill” and the late Robert S. Levinson’s “All About Evie”).
On a different kind of screen, a character attempts to keep up the façade that funds her lifestyle in “A Perfect Life” by Sophia Huneycutt (Department of First Stories). Similar pressure to uphold a certain veneer creates trouble for the characters in “Aunt Jenna Was a Spy” by Susan Dunlap and in the issue’s concluding nail-biter, “Spray” by Michael Wiley. Don’t miss a suspenseful moment!
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by Joyce Carol Oates
Dear Mr. Smythe:
The women friends met for lunch at the Purple Onion Cafe as they’d done frequently for nearly twenty years. As usual, Francine, the elder by seven months, arrived first, and secured their preferred table, outdoors on the terrace, in a corner farthest from the street. There, she could see Sylvie approach before Sylvie was likely to see her.
It was just noon. By quick degrees the popular vegetarian restaurant, recently reopened after an extensive renovation, would fill up with customers on this balmy September day.
by Doug Allyn
I hate dying, though the way my life’s been going, I’d better get used to it. Stay in the game long enough, and it’ll happen, sooner or later. Hell, Bob Dylan at his peak got booed at Newport; Nickelback tanked in Portugal. A Scottish singer literally got killed at Swansea. Electrocuted when he touched a mike.
But most often, dying is your own damned fault. You draw up a lame playlist, or get bored in the middle of a set and call out a weak jam off the top of your head, one you regret while you’re playing the first four bars.
Department of First Stories
by Sophia Huneycutt
Ada Williams knew she had a perfect life.
She knew it as she Ubered to her agent’s open-plan office, sipping cold-pressed juices. She knew it as she glided into comped Jivamukti classes, serenaded by clicks from awed Snapchatters. She knew it as she watched scarlet sunsets from her craftsman bungalow, set high in the hills. She heard it, always—the ding of her iPhone announcing another round of affirmation.
Her followers knew she had a perfect life too.
by Harley Mazuk
Three Falangist militiamen—an officer, a soldier, and their driver—on patrol in an old Fiat, stopped us for a routine check. My friend, Max Rabinowitz, lay wounded in the back of the wagon, concealed under the sticks Alejandro and his daughter, Amanda, had been gathering for fuel.
The officer didn’t like my face, or my accent. “You have no papers from the Nationalist side, and you are from Barcelona,” he said. Before I could reply, he slammed the flat of his Mauser against the side of my head. My legs buckled and I sank to my knees in the road. I saw Amanda’s Astra pistol come out from under her coat before I closed my eyes. I may have heard a shot or two before I blacked out.
by Steve Steinbock
Left Coast Crime is an annual mystery conference set in the early spring, usually located on the West Coast of the U.S. (although in 2006 it was held in Bristol, U.K. This year, for the first time, a Canadian city is hosting Left Coast Crime (Vancouver, BC, March 28-31). In celebration, this month’s Jury Box opens with several novels by Canadian authors.
by Kristopher Zgorski
Let us travel to the Canadian north for our first website this issue. Benoît Lelièvre’s Dead End Follies (www.deadendfollies.com) is a visually stunning online destination filled with erudite and entertaining ruminations that are uniquely Ben. His crime-fiction coverage spreads the gamut from books to movies and television, but Ben also talks about music and has some really well-constructed essays on a myriad of topics. His book reviews tend to cover titles from smaller presses and those that are not getting tons of media coverage, so readers looking to source unexpected finds will no doubt enjoy their visits to Dead End Follies.
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