<i>Flash Points</i>: Excerpt Flash Points: Excerpt David Hagberg The 22nd book in the Kirk McGarvey series. Review: <i>The Broken Girls</i> by Simone St. James Review: The Broken Girls by Simone St. James Angie Barry Read Angie Barry's review! Review: <i>Death by Dumpling</i> by Vivien Chien Review: Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien Doreen Sheridan Read Doreen Sheridan's review! Review: <i>Second Story Man</i> by Charles Salzberg Review: Second Story Man by Charles Salzberg Thomas Pluck Read Thomas Pluck's review!
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Showing posts by: Neliza Drew click to see Neliza Drew's profile
May 16 2017 1:00pm

Review: A Negro and an Ofay by Danny Gardner

A Negro and an Ofay by Danny Gardner is the 1st book in The Tales of Elliot Caprice series. 

On the surface, A Negro and an Ofay is a crime novel. Underneath, Danny Gardner’s book is about family—the one you have and the one you make. It’s about going home again and making amends. It’s about learning who you are after a long search.

Elliot Caprice has been to college, been to war, been a Chicago cop, and been on the run. By the time we catch up to him, he’s run out of places to run, and he’s contemplating what happens next. This leads him into a case involving the missing driver of a recently rich woman. 

Tangled in the question of whether or not Caprice can succeed at finding his man is whether he’ll be able to save his uncle’s farm from foreclosure, something that nags at him the way only family guilt can. Find the man, get the money, save the farm seems like an easy enough equation, until he discovers he’s not the only one looking for the chauffer—and that the others are willing to kill to find him. 

[Read Neliza Drew's review of A Negro and an Ofay...]

May 1 2017 12:00pm

Review: Miscarriage of Justice by Elizabeth Amber Love

Miscarriage of Justice by Elizabeth Amber Love is the 3rd book in the Farrah Wethers Mystery series. 

The 3rd book in the Farrah Wethers series by Elizabeth Amber Love finds Farrah facing a divorce, the loss of her house, and the possible closure of the spa where she works as a freelance massage therapist. All that gives her plenty on her plate, especially after having recently been a murder suspect and nearly killed on a retreat. Still, her natural inclination to help collides with her nosiness when a client seems to be in trouble, adding yet another layer of stress. 

It’s pretty well established that I’m not generally a cozy fan. It’s not that I necessarily have anything against them, and they certainly aren’t the last books I’ll pick up—they just aren’t among the first. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed Love’s earlier books and was excited for Miscarriage of Justice. It didn’t disappoint, and it’s a terrifically fun read.

Farrah is a good, believable mix of competent and “hot mess” that will likely resonate with anyone who’s struggled to balance home and work. Beyond that, the story is intriguing and pulls the reader along in the way a well-told anecdote from a friend keeps you holding out on getting more wine until they’re done.

[Read Neliza Drew's review of Miscarriage of Justice...]

Apr 15 2017 4:30pm

Review: Dangerous Ends by Alex Segura

Dangerous Ends by Alex Segura is the 3rd Pete Fernandez mystery—a fast-paced, hardboiled and surprising novel that pushes Pete Fernandez into a battle with a deadlier, more complex threat, as he tries to shake off the demons haunting Miami's own, sordid past.

The 3rd installment in the Pete Fernandez books has arrived, and Dangerous Ends does not disappoint. Pete’s as close to having his life together as we’ve ever seen him—working steadily both at the bookstore and his investigation business—so of course things are about to go off the rails. 

This time, it’s his reporter friend, Kathy, who brings trouble to Pete’s door in the form of an old murder case that was supposed to be firmly closed. So closed, in fact, that the suspect’s been convicted, spent years in prison, and is slowly running out of appeals as well as hope. His daughter, at the end of her list of options, has hired Kathy to write a book about her father’s case. She hopes that in doing so she’ll find something that exonerates the man. Kathy enlists Pete, despite Pete’s misgivings. 

[Read Neliza Drew's review of Dangerous Ends...]

Mar 22 2017 1:00pm

Review: Bad Boy Boogie by Thomas Pluck

Bad Boy Boogie by Thomas Pluck is the 1st book in the new Jay Desmarteaux Crime Thriller series.

Jay Desmarteaux walks out of prison after 25 years with a new set of rules learned from mentors inside, survival skills he’s adopted to stay alive, and every mechanics certification they offered. He’s also got some ideas about revenge because—well, because he did his time but wasn’t the only one involved in the crime. 

Jay squinted at the road. The only vehicle waiting in the early summer heat was a black Suburban parked at the yellow curb. The wind played with his shock of black hair. He had spent twenty-five years as a monk locked inside a dank Shaolin temple dedicated to violence and human predation while the men who put him there lived free from fear. 

Men who needed killing.

As a story of revenge and redemption, this story includes a great deal of violence. One reviewer loosely summarized it as the noiriest noir, and parts of it are very dark. There are a few elements, too, that may be difficult to navigate, so proceed with caution if gore or sexual assault bother you.

[Read Neliza Drew's review of Bad Boy Boogie...]

Oct 13 2016 3:00pm

Review: The Abandoned Heart by Laura Benedict

Three women. A cursed house. Generations of lives at stake. The Abandoned Heart by Laura Benedict—the 3rd novel in the acclaimed Bliss House series—reveals the secret that started it all.

The Abandoned Heart by Laura Benedict is an impressively sprawling ghost story, weaving together the lives (and deaths) experienced by the women of Bliss House shortly after its completion. Through their eyes, the reader meets Randolph Bliss, the man who purchased the property after being warned of its past and who constructed the house that haunted inhabitants in both Charlotte’s Story and Bliss House.

Randolph Bliss is a man of odd proclivities, possession, and cruelty. He’s a man who uses people and laughs at their weaknesses. He also appears to be slowly driven insane by his own house. 

[Read Neliza Drew's review of The Abandoned Heart...]

Oct 10 2016 3:00pm

Review: South Village by Rob Hart

South Village by Rob Hart is the 3rd book in the Ash McKenna series, where Ash finds himself wasting away on a Georgia commune before being pulled into an investigation of a seemingly peaceful community turned murderous (Available October 11, 2016).

There’s this cliché—out there in the world beyond the borders of the crime fiction community—that the genre consists primarily of hardened police detectives and “girls” who are predominantly dead, and that anything remotely “noir” is about a guy who drinks too much, solves problems with violence, and roams the big city looking for dames with scores to settle. At first glance, Rob Hart’s latest Ash McKenna novel starts out firmly in this noir stereotype. 

[Read Neliza Drew's review of South Village...]

Jul 7 2015 10:15am

Fresh Meat: The Fraud by Brad Parks

The Fraud by Brad Parks is the 6th mystery in the Carter Ross series about the Newark, New Jersey journalist (available July 7, 2015).

The Fraud grabbed me from page one. I’d been reading another book before this one, a page or two at a time and falling asleep or getting distracted or picking up something else to read instead. Part of  the difference here is Brad Parks’ conversational writing style, like a friend is telling you a story over drinks. Part of it is the hook that starts the novel, the sort of semi-rhetorical question that could’ve fallen apart if he didn’t also make you immediately care about the characters:

It’s a hypothetical question every parent considers at some point:

Would you give your life for your kid?

Would you dive in front of a speeding eighteen-wheeler to shove your daughter out of the way? Would you let your son take your heart when his number didn’t come up on the transplant list? Would you place your head under the guillotine as part of some Faustian bargain wherein your child didn’t have to?

Oh, I know what you’re thinking, if you’re a parent: yes, yes, yes, and yes. Even if it was just to spare yourself the agony of burying your own kid, you’d make that sacrifice every time. Or at least that’s what you tell yourself you would do. What kind of selfish coward wouldn’t?

But hold on a second. Don’t answer yet. Because you still don’t know everything.

[Let's keep learning...]

Jan 26 2015 11:45am

Fresh Meat: Shark Skin Suite by Tim Dorsey

Shark Skin Suite by Tim Dorsey is the 18th humorous escapade of Florida serial killer Serge Storm, and this time, after binging on a collection of legal films, he's ready to try his own hand at  upholding the law (available January 27, 2015).

Tim Dorsey’s back with his 18th Serge Storm’s book, Shark Skin Suite. Now, given Dorsey’s plots are Florida headlines fed a steady diet of Coleman’s drug stash, run through the Florida Man Twitter feed, and frosted with incredibly creative serial murder, it means, given half my neighborhood in sunny South Florida has been foreclosed on – some places more than once – it’s only natural that the heart of Shark Skin Suite would be a foreclosure lawsuit, some slimy lawyers, and Coleman’s brother.

The biggest problem with a Dorsey novel, if you’re a big fan of believability, is parsing out the stuff that’s actually stuff that happened or stuff that happens so often no one notices anymore and the stuff that’s actually cranked up to eleven and three quarters. For example, I’m reading along and come to a part where a newly-minted lawyer figures out a way to get a bank to finally pay back the people it wrongly threw out of a house they’d paid cash for. My husband thinks it’s great, and ponders how the author came up with such an idea. My guess is he saw it on the news.  Yes, that’s a real news story, names and companies changed, of course. (It’s somehow even better the way Dorsey does it.)

[If only the real news was this exciting...]

Jan 6 2015 11:45am

Fresh Meat: Doing the Devil’s Work by Bill Loehfelm

Doing the Devil's Work by Bill Loehfelm is the third book starring Maureen Coughlin, an up-and-coming New Orleans police officer trying to rebuild her life (available January 6, 2014).

Doing the Devil's Work is the third book in the Maureen Coughlin series by Bill Loehfelm. In The Devil in Her Way, Coughlin was a probationary officer with the New Orleans Police Department. In the newest installment, she’s patrolling on her own, something she likes a little too much.

Officer Maureen Coughlin – OC on the streets – is fun to read. She feels real on the page, with the fears and follies of actual people. She worries and second guesses and charges ahead and has better twenty-twenty in hindsight. She’s also not a part of the breed of fictional supercops. She’s not a homicide detective; she’s not a detective of any sort. She’s just barely out of training and still on probation, which means the stakes for her screw ups aren’t always life or death, but could spell the death of her livelihood. Or her freedom.

[The stakes are high...]

Dec 1 2014 4:00pm

Fresh Meat: Gods and Monsters: Mythbreaker by Stephen Blackmoore

Gods and Monsters: Mythbreaker by Stephen Blackmoore is a standalone thriller where a new set of gods square off against the old regime, with mankind left in the middle (available December 2, 2014).

Mythbreaker by Stephen Blackmoore is the second book in the Gods and Monsters series (the first, Unclean Spirits was by Chuck Wendig), but each functions as a standalone tale. In the tradition of Neil Gaiman's American Gods, the series relies on the premise of gods walking the earth, not quite human, but not quite with their power of old. In Mythbreaker, the gods are converging on Los Angeles in search of a prophet who can bring them back to their original glory.

If you’re not familiar with Stephen Blackmoore, know that reading him is a bit like watching late-night Spike TV movies while riding a roller coaster. They’re full of fast-paced shenanigans, inventive swearing, and spectacular explosions, all blended with a dry wit and a knowledge of old-word mythology that’s encyclopedic – and demented. Seriously, he conjures references that even takes Google a few seconds to find and mashes them with underworld crime bosses, petty crooks, and any other pop culture references that seem handy.

Two Chroniclers, one leg breaker, a god and a couple of cyborg Terminator clones who are the embodiment of the Internet pile into a van. It sounds like a joke, but Fitz can’t figure out the punchline.

[Maybe they walk into a bar?]

Oct 1 2014 3:00pm

Fresh Meat: Tunnel Vision by Aric Davis

Tunnel Vision is the second book to feature Nickel, Aric Davis’s teenage sleuth and anti-hero (available October 1, 2014).

Nickel – no last name – was twelve in his last book-length case and while I’ve known twelve-year-old thieves and drug dealers, I can imagine why a few people found the character’s age a tad hard to swallow. In the follow-up, Nickel’s a few years older. He never gets specific about his age, but he’s old enough (and young enough) to be attracted to a sixteen-year-old Betty Martinez without it being weird.

 Told in somewhat alternating points of view that eventually intersect, the reader first meets Nickel on a very bad day. He’s hurt and angry and plotting some violent revenge as soon as he can get back to town and maybe get himself better put back together. What comes across best is that Nickel is a hard kid having some bad thoughts, and if he’s the good guy, things are going to get ugly. Fast.

Making your living as a criminal comes with its own list of unique risks, but I never thought one of them would be coming down on the wrong side of a setup. Call it naivete or whatever else you want, but I was sure I had myself in a good place, and the only way I was going to get burned was by someone I trusted. I knew that was possible – there were no illusions for me – but when it happened even my black little soul was caught off guard.

“Sorry,” Gary said to me, like that mattered when I was staring down the barrel of a shotgun and getting cuffed and being sent in off the books to a crooked juvenile internment camp.

Gary was my dealer, the loser I’d transformed with money and bags of high-grade marijuana into a kid with confidence. Gary would never betray me – I was sure of it – but I was wrong. The money got bigger and bigger, and that was that. Gary sold me out for a truck full of dope and a connection to move as much as he could harvest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

I hope for his sake, he enjoyed the money, because his luck is about to change.

[That's quite a serious boy...]

Sep 24 2014 4:00pm

Fresh Meat: Mistress of Lies by Holly West

Mistress of Lies is the second book in Holly West’s series featuring 17th-century amateur sleuth Isabel Wilde (available September 29, 2014).

The events of Mistress of Fortune have left Lady Isabel Wilde shaken. Her best friend and confidant has run off, her business is lagging, and while she’s been spending more time with the king, she’s not so sure where that’s going either. His offer for her to move in is tempting, but Wilde is reluctant to find herself under his thumb again.

Meanwhile, a young beggar girl appears on her doorstep and claims to be the daughter of Wilde’s eldest brother, Adam. And though the girl holds up a ring Adam clearly crafted as proof, it goes against everything Isabel thought she knew about her brother’s last days.

My intake of breath was audible. The name she uttered, Susanna Barber, was that of my long-dead mother.

“What game are you playing?” I said, frowning. “Tell me your real name!”

“My lady?” Charlotte said, reacting to me. “Is something amiss?”

“She calls herself by my mother’s name!”

The girl’s eyes welled. “You’re angry. I’ve made a terrible mess of things, haven’t I?”

“Tell me the truth then,” I said. “Who are you really?”

“Tis the truth. My name is Susanna Barber, I swear it. My father was Adam Barber. I’m your niece.”

I stepped back, stunned. What she said was impossible. My brother Adam died of the plague in 1665, unmarried and without children.

[Is the girl telling the truth?]

Jun 11 2014 11:00am

Fresh Meat: Bliss House by Laura Benedict

Bliss House by Laura Benedict focuses on a historic Virginia house built in 1887, and despite its blood-stained and mysterious past, it remains alive and vibrant (available June 15, 2014).

Bliss House is a creepy, Southern gothic ghost story from writer Laura Benedict. It’s also a mystery, a whodunit and a howdunit. It’s a story of madness, of new beginnings. It’s loaded with lies and heartbreak and hope. It’s all that and more, yet it never feels unfocused or scattered. More like the solving of a puzzle. It’s a helluva book. 

One corner of the puzzle is Rainey Adams, who’s purchased Bliss House, a kind of tainted family heirloom, after the death of her husband and the maiming of her daughter in a freak accident. She and daughter Ariel are looking for different things upon arrival, and indeed they find them.

It was easier to think about those friends, the ones she had known several years ago, than the ones she’d left behind when she got out of the hospital.

Would they even recognize her if they saw her? Maybe She knew she was looking more like herself every day. In the hallway, she stepped into the powder room, turned on the light, and leaned close to the mirror. If she turned a certain way, her skin looked perfect. But that wasn’t the horror show side. Tilting her chin, just a little, she could see how new, pink-white skin was replacing the scar tissue.

[Don't forget to knock...]

May 27 2014 11:30am

Fresh Meat: The Bones Beneath by Mark Billingham

The Bones Beneath by Mark Billingham is the 12th Tom Thorne novel where the Detective Inspector must escort the very serial killer he caught on a trip to Bardsey Island where the killer will reveal his burial site (available May 27, 2014).

Tom Thorne is out of his element, out of his city, and largely out of control. He’s forced to escort a convicted serial killer, Stuart Nicklin from Scaredy Cat, to a remote island in search of long-missing bones.

It begins as a simple police procedural: bureaucrats have been given an opportunity to close an old case and they’re keen to close it.

The chief constable’s got this MP on her case. The papers are all over it. This woman needs to know about her son, to get...closure or whatever and as far as I can see there’s no good reason why we should be doing this.”

Him,” Thorne said. “He’s the reason why not.”

[Bellingham enjoys toying with his audience...]

May 3 2014 1:00pm

Fresh Meat: Wolverine Bros. Freight & Storage by Stephen Ulfelder

Wolverine Bros. Freight and Storage by Steve Ulfelder is the fourth installment in the Conway Sax Mystery Series about the part-time racecar driver, part-time private eye and full-time recovering alcoholic (available May 6, 2014).

Wolverine Bros. Freight and Storage is the fourth Conway Sax novel by Steve Ulfelder, but if you’ve missed the others, you shouldn’t have too much trouble following this one. Just know that it jumps into the action with both feet at the beginning before it slows down a little so the reader and Conway can both catch their breath.

The book also has one of the stranger names I’ve seen on a “mystery” bookshelf, but frankly, it’s more creative than the ninety-hundred-dozen versions of Evil-Dead-Death-Corpse-Blood-Bad. And, it’s fitting. The big sign advertising the storage company sits up on a hill, overlooking the characters, overlooking the land they’re fighting over, overlooking the story itself.

Her property spanned Route 142, a semi- main drag that wandered northwest- southeast. If you looked across that road, as we did now, you could see most of a HOLLYWOOD- style sign that read WOLVERINE BROS. FREIGHT & STORAGE. Harmon’s Follywood, the locals called it. Harmon being Eudora’s son. Steady guy, local cop forever. Respected.

Dull, if you asked me.

But nobody ever did.

Eudora seldom mentioned Wolverine Bros. Freight & Storage, and when she did, she mocked it. Hard to blame her.

[Nobody likes being mocked...]

Apr 30 2014 12:45pm

Fresh Meat: Plaster City by Johnny Shaw

Plaster City by Johnny Shaw is the second adventure in the Jimmy Veeder Fiasco series where the semi-reformed brawler agrees on taking a trip across the vast SoCal desert with Bobby to help him look for his missing daughter (available May 1, 2014).

So you know, I loved Johnny Shaw's first Jimmy Veeder “fiasco.” Yes, fiasco. Not mystery. Not thriller. Not adventure. Fiasco. If you haven’t read Dove Season, you won’t really feel lost if you dive right into Plaster City, but trust me when I say it’s a great read.

Jimmy’s the kind of guy who tries to do the right thing most of the time and for a variety of reasons, things just often seem to go haywire. Part of that is probably his choice in best friends—though do we really choose our best friends consciously or is that a little more of the universe’s doing?

For the previous twelve years, I couldn’t have been further from the pace and responsibility of farm living. Twelve irresponsible, insane, fun years. Twelve story-filled, don’t-tell-your-kids-ever, I-remember-eleven-out-of-the-twelve years.
Now I was farming one hundred sixty acres of alfalfa and driving my son to T-ball, right before I ran to the store to get tampons for my girlfriend. I had slammed on the brakes and jackknifed into a straight life.

Bobby was the chaotic ballast that held it all together.

Every time things felt crushingly dull, when life wasn’t as Norman Rockwelly as it appeared, when the bills piled up or the crops died, I’d get a call from the one and only Bobby Maves, my best friend.

[Jimmy and Bobby don't think, they act...]

Feb 17 2014 10:15pm

Fresh Meat: Brotherhood of Fear by Paul Grossman

Brotherhood of Fear by Paul Grossman is the third Willi Kraus novel, in which the Berlin detective's been exiled from his homeland by the rise of the Nazis (available February 18, 2014).

Paul Grossman’s third Willi Kraus novel finds its title character without any of his prestige and power, or even his home, but provides no shortage of trouble for the former detective.

It’s 1933 in Paris, and former Inspektor Willi Kraus has fled his home in Berlin to become one of thousands of Jewish refugees in France. Without papers or any hope of one day working as a police officer again, he’s done what refugees are forced to do worldwide and taken odd jobs to make some money, hoping to one day provide for his two boys, currently living with his late wife’s family across town. Of course, if he’d kept the job sewing fake eyes on fox stoles, there wouldn’t be much of a book, and Willi finds an organizer at the refugee center who offers him work as a private investigator—off the books.

A simple job—follow around a young university student for his parents—leads to murder and fraud and the eventual collapse of the French economy. And it turns out, despite flattering Willi with assurances and admiration, several people seem to completely underestimate the sleuth.

[No status, no papers, no respect...]

Feb 1 2014 11:30pm

Fresh Meat: Mistress of Fortune by Holly West

Mistress of Fortunes by Holly WestMistress of Fortune by Holly West is a debut mystery set in late-seventeenth century London featuring amateur sleuth, sometimes-mistress, and secret fortune teller Lady Isabel Wilde (available February 3, 2014).

Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of historical fiction. Years ago, to me, the genre was bloated by excess period details an author couldn’t seem to let go unshared and that left me turned off.

West hasn’t done that. She’s assembled a well-plotted story with enough setting and description to fully engulf the reader without reading like a textbook. In fact, she so well captures the era, you can almost smell the prisoners when she visits the gaol.

I knew from my incarceration at Marshalsea Prison that the gaoler’s wife had nearly as much authority as he did himself so I said, “I’ll speak to her.”...

She led us into the prison through a narrow hallway, and every step brought back memories of a terrible time in my life. The smells, which were bad enough outside, were now unbearable and I nearly retched, both from the stench and from the memories the surroundings prompted. Even worse was the noise; shrieks, shouts, groans, wailing—even barking dogs—seemed to reverberate from every corner. I wanted to cover my ears and run.

Mrs. Richardson stopped in front of a cell at the end of a dark corridor. Perhaps fifteen shackled prisoners, both men and women, crowded the small cell. There was no furniture, not even a bench, and most of the prisoners sat or lay on the floor. I had a sudden vision of myself lying on that hard stone surface, shivering with cold, the skin around my ankles worn raw by the unforgiving rub of the rigid iron manacles. I closed my eyes tight to shut out the memory.

Mistress of Fortune, like Isabel, Lady Wilde herself (who secretly caters to the elite as fortune-teller Mistress Ruby), is both exceedingly polite and terribly brutal.

[The Enlightenment's only casting a bare twinkle...]

Jan 23 2014 1:00pm

Fresh Meat: Tiger Shrimp Tango by Tim Dorsey

Tiger Shrimp Tango by Tim DorseyTiger Shrimp Tango by Tim Dorsey is the 17th book in his off-beat, humorous Serge Storms thriller series (available January 28, 2014).

Tim Dorsey is back with Tiger Shrimp Tango, another delightfully demented tale of manic reverence for all things Florida kitsch and homicidal glee (Glee, too — Serge and Coleman are a little obsessed). And in case you were worried Serge had run out of Secret Master Plans,

Au contraire,” said Serge. “This detective business is part of the biggest Secret Master Plan yet. That’s why we’ve driven back to Tampa. We have to attend the Republican National Convention.”

“Sounds boring.”

“Except it’s anything but,” said Serge. “Especially with Tropical Storm Isaac bearing down with gale-force situation comedy. And if I’m really lucky, I might run into Sarah Palin so I can help her out.”


“Because the woman of my dreams has fallen on hard times,” said Serge. “Last time I saw her, it was at a distance on TV in a department store, and she apparently has been reduced to working behind the counter at a Chick-fil-A.”

Don’t worry, Republicans aren’t the only ones on Serge’s radar. In fact, his biggest assignment has to do with dispatching a collection of scam artists that are so thoroughly Florida, they might have originated in the @_FloridaMan Twitter feed. And there’s plenty of mayhem and situation comedy.

[If a sit-com featured an occasional hit-man...]

Nov 4 2013 8:00pm

Fresh Meat: Purgatory by Ken Bruen

Purgatory by Ken Bruen is the tenth Jack Taylor crime novel of Galway, Ireland (available November 4, 2013).

Ken Bruen’s latest book, Purgatory, starts with a bang—fairly literally—and it’s all downhill from there.

Jack Taylor is washed out, washed up, and washed clean. Bounced from the Guards and not really interested in any more private gigs, Taylor is practicing the art of living a day at a time. None of that Zen stuff his friend Stewart’s into, not a proper twelve-step program, but more an acquired apathy that makes caring too hard to even feign.

The woman sat opposite me, didn’t ask, just sat. This used to happen a lot. People believing I had some inside track for finding things, people, solutions, and maybe answers. I’d found some answers, over the years, and they were always the wrong ones. Or right but for the wrong reasons. I’d given it up with the booze, the cigs, the Xanax.

Before she could speak, I said,


Knocked her back.

Her mouth made a small O of surprise. I knew the gig. The touching photo.

Some heart-kicking story.

Her son/brother/husband


Was a great/caring/lovable



Could I find him, what happened to him?

The whole usual awful parade of misery.

She tried,

“But, they said, you care.”

I said, “I don’t.”

And I didn’t.

Not no more.


[He's doesn't sound too sorry... ]