<i>The Memory Painter</i>: New Excerpt The Memory Painter: New Excerpt Gwendolyn Womack What if there was a drug that could help you remember past lives? <i>Day of the Destroyers</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Day of the Destroyers: Exclusive Excerpt Gary Phillips Comment for a chance to win a signed copy of this super anthology! <i>Grave Consequences</i>: New Excerpt Grave Consequences: New Excerpt David Thurlo and Aimee Thurlo Why is a recently pawned necklace worth killing over? Fresh Meat: <i>Anne of the Fens</i> by Gretchen Gibbs Fresh Meat: Anne of the Fens by Gretchen Gibbs Jenny Maloney England, in 1628, was not a safe time for women to question their beliefs.
From The Blog
April 24, 2015
Man Executes Computer Gangster Style
Teddy Pierson
April 23, 2015
True Crime Thursday: Revisiting Criminal Element's Bizarre Beginnings
Crime HQ
April 22, 2015
Happy 4th Anniversary to Us!
Crime HQ
April 18, 2015
From Page to Screen with McBain's King's Ransom and Kurosawa's High and Low
Brian Greene
April 15, 2015
Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List: May, 2015
Crime HQ
Fri
Apr 24 2015 4:15pm

From the Bleeding Heart of Fandom: A Buffy Confab with Dana Cameron, Charlaine Harris, and Toni L..P. Kelner

This fannish confab about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with Dana Cameron, Charlaine Harris, and Toni L.P. Kelner, is gleefully offered in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Mystery Writers of America.

 

Did you watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer from the very beginning?  If not, what lured you in?

Charlaine: I had seen the original movie. (It pales in comparison to the show, but it has its moments.) So I was ready to love the show. My husband liked Buffy just as much as I did, though possibly for different reasons. We both felt that Buffy was a great role model in a lot of ways: she was strong and brave, she spoke her mind, and she tried to do what was right, not what was popular. Though Buffy was pretty, she never traded on that; in fact, no one could be less flirtatious than Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar). I’d never met anyone like her, and I always wanted to! No matter what happened to Buffy Summers, she regained her strength. She would rally! We had her back! Well, us and the Scooby gang.

Toni: Yes and no. I saw the original awful movie, but didn’t get into the TV show until the second or third season, when the ads sucked me in.

Dana: Not until Season 2 or 3; I'd seen the movie and thought it had something. Wasn't sure what. I was flipping past an action scene, paused, and thought “What would make it really cool is if one of them said X (in response to whatever was happening).” And then someone said X!  I knew then it was a totally different kind of show and was hooked. 

[Fave episodes, Scoobies, villains ahead...]

Fri
Apr 24 2015 11:00am
Excerpt

The Memory Painter: New Excerpt

Gwendolyn Womack

The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack is thriller about an artist whose vivid dreams are not only his work's inspiration, but also a look into the lives of others (available April 28, 2015).

What if there was a drug that could help you remember past lives?

What if the lives you remembered could lead you to your one true love?

What if you learned that, for thousands of years, a deadly enemy had conspired to keep the two of you apart?

Bryan Pierce is an internationally famous artist whose paintings have dazzled the world. But there's a secret to his success: Every canvas is inspired by an unusually vivid dream. When Bryan awakes, he possesses extraordinary new skills...like the ability to speak obscure languages and an inexplicable genius for chess. All his life, he has wondered if his dreams are recollections, if he is re-experiencing other people's lives.

Linz Jacobs is a brilliant neurogeneticist, absorbed in decoding the genes that help the brain make memories, until she is confronted with an exact rendering of a recurring nightmare at one of Bryan's shows. She tracks down the elusive artist, and their meeting triggers Bryan's most powerful dream yet: visions of a team of scientists who, on the verge of discovering a cure for Alzheimer's, died in a lab explosion decades ago.

As Bryan becomes obsessed with the mysterious circumstances surrounding the scientists' deaths, his dreams begin to reveal what happened at the lab, as well as a deeper mystery that may lead all the way to ancient Egypt. Together, Bryan and Linz start to discern a pattern. But a deadly enemy watches their every move, and he will stop at nothing to ensure that the past stays buried.

[Start reading The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack!]

Fri
Apr 24 2015 8:45am

Man Executes Computer Gangster Style

Have you ever been so frustrated with your computer that you’ve imagined shooting it? One Colorado man stopped trying CTL + ALT + DELETE and did just that, reports The Gazette.

It seems that Lucas Hinch, 37, took his defenceless computer into an alley, like a classic gangster movie, and shot it until it was no more. The eight bullets he used echoed so loudly that it alerted nearby police who arrived at the scene and arrest him on the spot.

Lt. Jeff Strossner told the press that Hinch “executed” the computer. Hinch said he did not realize he was breaking the law.

I will admit it, this guy lived a dream I have had countless times. Haven't you ever thought about 'killing' your computer?

Thu
Apr 23 2015 1:00pm

The Americans 3.13: Season Finale “March 8, 1983”

The Season 3 finale of The Americans was a surprisingly low-key affair. Of the myriad confrontations we’d been bracing ourselves for, none really materialized in any significant way. I think I understand what the creators, Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields (also the episode’s co-writers), were trying to accomplish by concluding the season with such a quiet, reflective episode. In one respect, they were declaring what their show is not. It is not one of those other Washington D.C. based shows, constantly throwing outrageous plot twists and cliffhangers at you (cough cough, Scandal, ahem Homeland, looking at you, House of Cards). Instead, we are a character driven show about family, honesty, identity, and loyalty. If there were any doubts about this before, Season 3 definitively answered those questions. Weisberg and Fields have crafted a tense, melancholy show utterly unique to itself, all while providing a slew of memorable, often cringe-inducing scenes.

By that measure, last night’s episode, “March 9, 1983,” was a success. It was another well-acted, emotional, soul searching hour of television. Unfortunately, this wasn’t just another episode. This was the finale, the supposed culmination of carefully and intensely plotted storylines that appeared destined for head-on collisions. Yet Weisberg and Field chose to either neglect these heavily foreshadowed conflicts, or, in one glaring instance, conclude it in a tepid, unsatisfying way. The result was a finale that left me wondering whether I’d made a mistake about this being the last episode of the season or if there was actually one more airing next week. I’m pretty sure that’s not the best reaction one should have to a season finale, even one that was as well made as this one.

[If they'd like to provide another episode, I won't stop them...]

Thu
Apr 23 2015 11:00am

True Crime Thursday: Revisiting Criminal Element’s Bizarre Beginnings

As you may have seen, yesterday marked the four year anniversary for Criminal Element, and we're continuing the celebration for this True Crime Thursday by looking back at four of our first posts on the subject! (Call it our very first True Crime-Throwback Thursday, if you will!)

First, join Elyse Dinh-McCrillis as she takes us through her attempt to solve her own hit-and-run case!

Then skeeve out with Joseph Finder as he recounts what was going through his mind when he willingly chose to be buried alive. Why? For research of course!

Up next is Dr. Lewis Preschel, who takes us through a quick history of  fingerprints and how two doctors, three lords, and twin criminals would change the world of forensic sciences forever.

And finally, what's a little true crime without some conspiracy? Let Tony Hays tell you why lone-gunman conspiracies fail to win him over, especially when it comes to James Earl Ray's alleged assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

And for all our true crime, proving how much stranger truth can be than fiction, bookmark it!

Thu
Apr 23 2015 10:00am
Excerpt

Day of the Destroyers: Exclusive Excerpt

Gary Phillips

Read an exclusive excerpt of Chapter 1 of Day of the Destroyers, a linked-prose anthology starring Jimmie Flint, Agent X-11 (available April 28, 2015). Comment to enter for a chance to win a signed copy!

Based on a real historical event during the Roosevelt administration! Guest starring pulp heroes The Green Lama, The Phantom Detective, and The Black Bat! Day of the Destroyers is an all-original, linked-prose anthology; each story is part of a larger arc wherein Jimmie Flint, Secret Agent X-11 of the Intelligence Service Command, battles to prevent the seditionist Medusa Council from engineering a bloody coup overthrowing our democracy. Written by pulp fictioneers Ron Fortier, Adam Lance Garcia, Gary Phillips, Paul Bishop, Jeri Westerson, Eric Fein, Tommy Hancock, Aaron Shaps, and Joe Gentile.

THE ZYBRISKI REPORT

Abraham Zybriski fell on all fours, doing his best to make his way over the sand dune.  He got up and kept ascending.  It was a cold, moonless night in California’s Mohave Desert, though the sand had retained some of the heat of the day.  The temperature had crested 110 degrees then, now it was in the low forties.  He swallowed but his mouth and throat were dry.  He was tired and alone, but he kept going. 

[Continue reading Day of the Destroyers now!]

Wed
Apr 22 2015 1:00pm
Excerpt

Grave Consequences: New Excerpt

David Thurlo and Aimee Thurlo

Grave Consequences by David and Aimee Thurlo is the 2nd mystery featuring retired Special Forces operative Charlie Henry, who now resides in Albuquerque working as a pawn broker (available April 28, 2015).

Charlie Henry, former Special Forces operative and newly minted pawnbroker, thinks that he's finally turned a corner and the calm, quiet life he's always wanted is just ahead. But life never really works out that way.

A young Navajo man comes into Charlie's shop, FOB Pawn, claiming that his girlfriend mistakenly pawned a beautiful family heirloom, a turquoise necklace that she desperately needs back. When he's unable to produce any proof of this tale, Charlie is immediately suspicious and sticks by the golden pawnbroker rule: No claim ticket, no exchange. Then the young man returns with reinforcements—and guns—making it abundantly clear that there's more to this story than a family treasure.

This necklace quickly becomes the focus of a case where everyone lies, and every question seems to answer with gunfire. With the help of his semi-estranged brother, Alfred, a tribal cop working undercover, Charlie quickly finds out that the pendant was the work of a Navajo silversmith who was recently murdered. And, in an act so taboo in Navajo culture as to be unthinkable, his grave dug up and this piece of jewelry removed. With multiple parties vying to get their hands on the necklace—for what ill-gotten gains, no one knows—it's up to Charlie and his comrades-in-arms to help find out who's really telling the truth, and uncover the mysteries that this heirloom holds.

[Start reading Grave Consequences now!]

Wed
Apr 22 2015 11:00am

Fresh Meat: Anne of the Fens by Gretchen Gibbs

Anne of the Fens by Gretchen Gibbs is a historical young adult novel about a fifteen year old girl whose budding curiosity crosses paths with a young man her father is hiding from authorities (available April 30, 2015).

Anne Dudley is a fifteen year old who has very little experience when it comes to trouble – that’s more her sister Sarah’s issue. Raised as a Puritan, Anne knows it is wicked to lie, cheat, steal, and lust after men. Still, she is caught in a world that is anything but Godly and pure. Her religion prohibits the reading of certain books, like William Shakespeare. And, on the other side of things, King Charles I is demanding taxes and limiting her family’s freedom because of their religion.

When Anne discovers her father is hiding a Puritan fugitive from the King’s justice, she finds herself learning how to lie. She sneaks the man, John Holland, food. During their midnight meetings, she discovers that perhaps she feels more than just duty towards him. However, as she gets to know John and becomes better at telling lies, she starts to wonder if she isn’t being lied to.

Anne of the Fens is based on the historical life of a girl who would grow up to become America’s premiere female poet Anne Bradstreet, who is an ancestor of author Gretchen Gibbs – and the passion for her predecessor in life and letters is clear in Gibbs’ novel. It’s a story set against the dark, threatening landscape of pre-English Civil War, when men and women were hanged or burned alive for their religious beliefs.

[Harsh doesn't even scratch the surface...]

Wed
Apr 22 2015 9:45am

Happy 4th Anniversary to Us!

Flowers and fruit are what's traditional, so for the site's 4th anniversary, we can't imagine anything nicer than rotting watermelon skulls, via artist Dimitri Tsykalov, who we've featured before with his amazing meat gun, and who has much more coolness at his site.

Our very first post at CriminalElement, squeaking in under the wire on the evening of April 22, 2011, was an excerpt from the Edgar-winning The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin. Then, we loaded in plenty more, so that we had thirty posts by the end of the first week. As of today, we've shared over 700 posts on new releases as Fresh Meat, almost 600 posts on TV Crime, hundreds of Sweepstakes (not all at the same time), and almost 900 of these pithy little items we call Morning Coffee. We couldn't have—and wouldn't have—done it without you, the fellow crime fans who visit, comment, and write for us!

Thanks to you all!

(And by the way, if you're planning early for our 5th anniversary, the traditional gift is wood. We think this carved skull-pture by artist Anthony Santella would look perfect at HQ. Just sayin'.)

Tue
Apr 21 2015 2:00pm

A Case of Place: What TV’s American Horror Story Taught Me About My New Orleans

This post, about how a scenery-chewing TV series rekindled one New Orleans crime author's love for his own city, is offered for your delight and in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Mystery Writers of America.

When it was announced that American Horror Story was setting its third season in New Orleans, and it was going to be about witches—well, I hoped for the best but prepared for the worst. The only thing more stereotypical than New Orleans witches/voodoo is vampires, and television shows haven’t been kind to New Orleans in the past, outside of Tremé. Another recent attempt, K-Ville (an abbreviation of Katrinaville), had been roundly mocked by everyone local—the Times-Picayune itself had a running gag about one of its more egregious mistakes (there’s no such thing as a gumbo party, y’all). There was an attempt to turn the much hated (locally) film The Big Easy into an equally hated series that lasted two seasons, and even Larry Hagman tried, post-Dallas, with a show called Orleans.

Given the uneven storytelling of the second season of American Horror Story, I didn’t hold out much hope for Coven. Yet as I watched, I found myself caught up, once again, in the spell of New Orleans.

[Laissez les bons temps rouler…]

Tue
Apr 21 2015 12:30pm
Excerpt

A June of Ordinary Murders: New Excerpt

Conor Brady

A June of Ordinary Murders is the debut Victorian Era historical mystery by Conor Brady about a Dublin detective who begins piecing together a connection from string of suspicious deaths (available April 21, 2015).

In the 1880s the Dublin Metropolitan Police classified crime in two distinct categories. Political crimes were classed as “special,” whereas theft, robbery and even murder, no matter how terrible, were known as “ordinary.”

Dublin, June 1887: The city swelters in a long summer heat wave, the criminal underworld simmers, and with it, the threat of nationalist violence is growing. Meanwhile, the Castle administration hopes the celebration of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee will pass peacefully. Then, the mutilated bodies of a man and a child are discovered in Phoenix Park and Detective Sergeant Joe Swallow steps up to investigate. Cynical and tired, Swallow is a man living on past successes in need of a win. With the Land War at its height, the priority is to contain special crime, and these murders appear to be ordinary—and thus of lesser priority. But when the evidence suggests high-level involvement, and the body count increases, Swallow must navigate the treacherous waters of foolish superiors, political directives, and frayed tempers to solve the case, find the true murderer, and deliver justice.

Friday June 17th, 1887

One

The place where the bodies of the adult and the child were found was cool and shadowed before the sun burned off the morning mist.

It was on wooded ground that sloped down towards the river with a view across the city towards the mountains. Swallow knew it well. When the muttering constable with sleep in his eyes and clutching the crime report dragged himself up to the detective office from the Lower Yard of Dublin Castle, he could see it in his mind’s eye.

This was where the boundary wall of the Phoenix Park met the granite pillars of the Chapelizod Gate, and where beech and pine trees formed a small, dense copse close by.

At this point, the trees are trained by the wind that funnels along the valley of the River Liffey towards Dublin Bay, inclining them eastward as if permanently pointing the way to the city. Outside the wall the ground falls away towards the river with the open fields and the village of Chapelizod beyond.

It was here, just inside the boundary wall of the park, that a keeper found the two bodies on the third morning of the extraordinary heatwave that settled on the island of Ireland in the third week of June, 1887.

[Continue Reading A June of Ordinary Murders by Conor Brady...]

Tue
Apr 21 2015 11:00am

Gotham 1.20: “Under the Knife”

It finally happened. Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) finally conduct an actual police investigation, though I’m still having trouble buying the premise. Their target is the serial killer with the secret bondage room, ala Christian Grey, who’s looking for the perfect woman, i.e. a woman who does anything he tells her to do.

In other events, the young Bat and Cat attend a ball and banter, Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) takes his first step into villainy, Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) returns worried about a job (she has a job?) with a new twist that’s only vaguely more interesting than the blank slate she’s been previously, and Oswald’s mother is menaced by Maroni (David Zayas).

Oh, and Gotham puts Morena Baccarin in a bathtub for no particular reason other than it seemed to want a T & A scene.

[I'm sure that got your attention...]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 4:00pm

The Gadgetless and Tired Assassin: James Bond’s Short Stories

Every so often the caretakers of the James Bond movie franchise talk about getting back to author Ian Fleming’s original creation, distancing themselves from the outlandish stunts, gadgets, and cartoonish violence that helped turn 007 into a billion dollar staple but undermined any sense of believability in the series. A reboot featuring Daniel Craig’s stark portrayal in Casino Royale (2006) helped wash away some seriously low points in Bond history. Though I may never be able to completely forget the burned-in-my-brain scene of 007 snowboarding down a mountainside, in 1985’s A View to a Kill, to the playful tune of the Beach Boys’ “California Girls,” the recent Casino makeover did much to right the rudder, so to speak, navigating Commander Bond closer to Fleming’s darker waters.

But, let’s dream a bit. What it would really be like if they got back to those Fleming fundamentals. Back to the uncompromising British emissary that  villainess Vesper Lynd describes in Casino Royale (1953) as “something cold and ruthless." The man with the license to kill who soberly reflects in Goldfinger (1959), “it was his duty to be as cool about death as a surgeon. If it happened, it happened. Regret was unprofessional—worse, it was a death-watch beetle in the soul.” And though I appreciate the iconic Fleming novels, let me scale even further back to basics where the definitive essence of James Bond — the tired assassin, the man on the edge — lies … in the short stories.

[It's about to get gritty...]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 2:30pm
Excerpt

One of Us: New Excerpt

Åsne Seierstad

One of Us by Åsne Seierstad is a true crime account of Anders Breivik, a Norwegian man who would go on a terrifying massacre that shook the country to its core (available April 21, 2015).

On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik detonated a bomb outside the Norwegian prime minister's office in central Oslo, killing eight people. He then proceeded to a youth camp on the wooded island of Utøya, where he killed sixty-nine more, most of them teenage members of the country's governing Labour Party. In One of Us, the journalist Åsne Seierstad tells the story of this terrible day and its reverberations. How did Breivik, a gifted child from an affluent neighborhood in Oslo, become Europe's most reviled terrorist? How did he accomplish an astonishing one-man murder spree? And how did a famously peaceful and prosperous country cope with the slaughter of so many of its young?

Prologue

She ran.

Up the hill, through the moss. Her wellingtons sank into the wet earth. The forest floor squelched beneath her feet.

She had seen it.

She had seen him fire and a boy fall.

[Continue reading One of Us by Asne Seierstad...]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 10:15am

Game of Thrones 5.02: “The House of Black and White”

It’s easy to imagine Game of Thrones as a sprawling game of chess, and “The House of Black and White” moved some major pieces around, but we’re still left trying to figure out who’s on whose team. Arya Stark (Maise Williams) has finally landed in Braavos, but she’s not welcomed in the fashion she assumed. Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) continue their mysterious trek away from the Eyrie, which is interrupted by Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Pod (Daniel Portman), who continue to stumble around guided blindly by luck. Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Colster-Waldau) announces to his sister that he’ll head south into Dorne to rescue Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free), but not before he picks up Bronn (Jerome Flynn) first. And across the sea, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) and Varys (Conleth Hill) inch ever closer to Daenerys (Emilia Clarke). Imagine if Daenerys headed towards Westeros at the same speed Tyrion’s headed to her! A man can dream.

Many characters might be shuffling around, but some of the biggest movements were a result of stationary characters that saw their statuses rise and fall. After all, chaos is a ladder just waiting to be climbed. And that brings us to this week’s Riser of the Week:

[Now introducing the 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch…]

Sun
Apr 19 2015 12:00pm
Original Story

The Blondes: New Excerpt

Emily Schultz

The Blondes by Emily Schultz is a satirical apocalyptic thriller set in modern day NYC where a strange illness turns everyday people into killers; the catch: it only effects blonde women (available April 21, 2015).

Hazel Hayes is a grad student living in New York City. As the novel opens, she learns she is pregnant (from an affair with her married professor) at an apocalyptically bad time: random but deadly attacks on passers-by, all by blonde women, are terrorizing New Yorkers. Soon it becomes clear that the attacks are symptoms of a strange illness that is transforming blondes—whether CEOs, flight attendants, students or accountants—into rabid killers.

One

WOMEN HAVE STUPID DREAMS. We laud each other only to tear each other down. We are not like men; men shake hands with hate between them all the time and have public arguments that are an obvious jostling for power and position. They compete for dominance—if not over money, then over mating. They know this, each and every one. But women are civilized animals. We have something to prove, too, but we’ll swirl our anger with straws in the bottom of our drinks and suck it up, leaving behind a lipstick stain. We’ll comment on your hair or your dress only to land a backhanded compliment, make you feel pathetic and poor, too fat or too thin, too young or too old, unsophisticated, unqualified, unwanted. For women, power comes by subtle degrees. I could write a thesis on such women—and I nearly did.

[Continue reading The Blondes by Emily Schultz...]

Sat
Apr 18 2015 12:00pm

From Page to Screen with Ed McBain’s King’s Ransom and Akira Kurosawa’s High and Low

I’ve been a fan of Akira Kurosawa’s 1963 suspense film High and Low since I saw it years ago. I just watched it again after my first read of the 87th Precinct novel it’s based on: Ed McBain’s 1959 procedural King’s Ransom - the 10th installment of the highly-celebrated series penned by Evan Hunter under the McBain pseudonym. The Wikipedia page for High and Low states that is it “loosely based” on the McBain book; but while there are certainly differences between the film and the book, I’d say that statement is a stretch, as the two versions of the story are very similar in some essential ways. In any case, both are worthy examples of works done in their respective media, and it was interesting for me to look closely at what happened when a masterfully-written crime novel got channeled through the vision of a brilliant film director.

Before I delve into the storyline of King’s Ransom and High and Low, I have to confess that I’m going to commit a spoiler where the movie is concerned. There’s just no way for me to comment on the similarities and differences between novel and film without doing that. But what I’m spoiling is something that happens only about halfway into the film.

[Don't let that stop you!]

Fri
Apr 17 2015 3:00pm

Letter from Lyon: At 2015’s Quais du Polar

The Quais Du Polar is the largest crime fiction festival in France, and that’s saying a lot, because the French love crime fiction. Sure, mysteries (and to a lesser extent, noir) are big in the U.S., but crime fiction in France is a cultural phenomenon reaching back decades. The French, god love them, are obsessed with all things criminal. The Quais Du Polar festival is headquartered in the magnificent Palais du Commerce in Lyon, where, for three days, over a hundred authors sit signing books for an estimated 70,000 fans and readers. It’s like Comic-Con for noir geeks.

[Bring on the Gallic geekery!]

Fri
Apr 17 2015 10:00am
Excerpt

Reykjavik Nights: New Excerpt

Arnaldur Indridason

Reykjavik Nights by Arnaldur Indridason is a prequel set in the 1960s about the up-and-coming Inspector Erlendur Sveinsson (available April 21,2015).

The beat on the streets in Reykjavik is busy: traffic accidents, theft, domestic violence, contraband … And an unexplained death.

When a tramp he met regularly on the night shift is found drowned in a ditch, no one seems to care. But his fate haunts Erlendur and drags him inexorably into the strange and dark underworld of the city.

1

There was a green anorak in the water. When prodded, it stirred, turned a slow half circle and sank from view. The boys fished at it with their poles until it floated up to the surface again, then recoiled in horror when they saw what lay beneath.

The three friends lived on Hvassaleiti, in the residential blocks lined up along busy Miklabraut all the way down to the expanse of waste-ground known as Kringlumýri. To the north the waste-ground was overgrown with nettles and angelica; to the south lay a large area of open diggings, deep gashes in the earth, where the inhabitants of Reykjavík had excavated peat by the ton to heat their houses during the First World War when fuel was in short supply. They had drained and laid tracks across the marshy ground before embarking on the largest scale peat extraction in the history of the city. Hundreds of men had been employed in cutting, drying and transporting it to the city in wagons.

[Continue reading Reykjavik Nights now!]

Fri
Apr 17 2015 8:45am

The M.O.’s Long Gone Selection: “Fix Me”

We're proud to present “Fix Me” by S.W. Lauden, the first crime fiction selection for The M.O.!

This submission received the most votes from our fantastic shortlist, and while the theme was Long Gone, we're sure you'll enjoy this very-short story here and now!

 

I can't stop pedaling. That's the thing about fixed gear bikes. If the fixie is moving, my legs are moving. Which is a good thing right now, because this muscle car has been chasing me for miles. He's belching smoke and kicking up dirt just like a charging bull.

Somebody has murder on their mind.

I can feel the heat rising up from his engine every time he gains on me. It's a chilling reminder that I'm totally exposed except for a helmet, hoodie, bike bag and shorts. One wrong move away from becoming another stain on the sun-bleached streets of L.A.
 
And for what? I pass by that bar almost every night. It's full of day drinkers until sunset when the hipsters arrive, drawn like moths to the cheap poetry of its shabby interior. Tonight, this guy sped from the parking lot without even looking. I had to swerve wide and slalom through oncoming traffic to avoid getting killed.
 
He was squinting to make sense of the road when I caught up to him at the red light. My legs were pumping as I blew by, kicking his passenger door without slowing down. The loud bang snapped him from his stupor, and he swiveled his head in shock. His engine sputtered and growled when the light turned green. We were off to the races.

My best friend Sam died this way, run down by an angry drunk.

[And now...the rest of the story]