Oh, yes! Another volume of hard-boiled and noir that should be on every crime connoisseur’s shelf, and looking well-read! All the pieces are really good, as we've come to expect from Switchblade. I've highlighted my personal favourites, but must stress at the outset that I loved them all.
Lisa Douglass opens the volume with a superb piece of noir poetry, “The Hidden”.
Then we’re into the 12 short stories, all a damned fine read.
“A Good Week’s Work” by Rob Pierce: Card games, money, guns, greed and doublecrossing. Not every one can walk out a winner, that’s for sure.
“Nasty Habits” by Alec Cizak: And habits don’t come any nastier than paedophilia. To use a quote from this piece: “A toucher. Lower than a chunk of petrified dog shit loitering between Satan’s toes.” Well, in this town, you really, seriously need to be careful what you ask for. And what you actually get? Dark, violent justice here. It’s great writing by Cizak, and definitely one of my top choices from this excellent Switchblade collection.
“Discretion” by Court Merrigan: Giving a blow-job without your hubby watching can be a problem. But with your hubby watching – this is one violent and twisted tale – excellent!
“Play Your Hand” by Danny Sophabmisay: An adultery case for a nasty PI with a gambling problem. What could go wrong? So much, and it’s so well written. A sample: “…he stopped to put a song on the jukebox. ‘Come on Eileen’. It was a bold choice for someone whose wife had been covered in frat semen.” My first taste of Sophabmisay’s work, but one of the highlights here for me.
“Chemo Queen” by Tom Barlow: Everyone has secrets, some are just much dirtier than others. And what do you get when two con artists go up against each other? A hell of a story.
“Daughter of Diamonds” by Jack Bates: Competing women, hungry for diamonds, and a gun thrown into the mix. Our man here is in serious trouble.
“The Comforter” by Rick Risemberg: The comfort of revenge, one you never see coming. What happens when you mess it up with organized crime.
“Crossing Lines” by Tony Genova: When you’re paid to transport bags, don’t let your curiosity get the better of you. The bags are closed for a reason.
“China Township, MI” by E.F.Sweetman: A sociopathic college dropout, discreet package deliveries, and a neo-Nazi guy wanting a blow-job. Yep, the motto is not to run out of petrol. This piece by Sweetman, my first read of her work, is right up there for me.
“These Hills” by Chris McGinley: Misery and addiction in Appalachia, poaching, death, musings on heaven, and a preacher who says he’s never going to get there. This is a bitingly dark look at a small town.
“Vanishing Girl” by Robb T. White: Strippers, spiked drinks, rapists, clueless cops, and serial killers. A nice girly joint, this one, and a terrifically twisted noir tale. And this is up there with my favourites, too.
“Bad Dog” by Timothy Friend: Canine noir? Yes, and the bite is well worth the bark. This is an out-there POV shift that works beautifully.
Then we round the issue out with three flash fiction pieces.
“The Big Blind” by David Rachels: A card game with the ultimate high stakes.
“Lama Todd” by Preston Lang: Religion, fraud, and a lovely twist. Mr Lang is one of my favourite indie crime authors.
“Lights of San Francisco” by Tom Andes: Delicious double deals, and then say goodbye to those lights.
Switchblade’s editor, Scotch Rutherford, again excels himself with his curation of superb hard-boiled and noir crime writing. This anthology really has grown into a haven of some of the best indie crime writing around, and it’s a crime reader’s wet dream!
Can’t wait to get my hands on Issue #6.
"Switchblade" Issue # 5 - This anthology gets darker and finer every time! It's a must read for crime connoisseurs.
Bringing you hard-boiled and noir tales of crime and corruption. And various related opinions!