The cover for the debut issue of Flash Bang Mysteries, which goes live in October of 2015, is here! Please check it out and let us know what you think. As you will notice, Warren Bull’s story, THE INTERVIEW, is featured on the cover. Picking the cover story was quite difficult, because all of the accepted stories are amazing. However, in the end, there can be only one, and we’d like to congratulate Warren for earning that distinction.
Genre Shotgun: A Collection Of Short Fiction features thirteen previously published tales classified into four categories. Published by Gryphonwood Press in 2012 the book continues the author’s word count assault on the reading public with quality storytelling and interesting characters. Like his Flank Hawk series, there are plenty of twists and surprises in these very good tales.
The book opens with the “Horror/Suspense” category. There are three stories in this section and they begin with “The Scene Of My Second Murder.” A graveyard in the middle of the night and a long ago death are just two of the many elements in the tale.
Scary stories told to young kids at a retreat or camp is a classic idea used in film as well as in books. So classic we all pretty much know how the tale will go before we read one as the names and circumstances are usually the only difference. Author Terry W. Ervin II puts a very different spin on things with “Skull Face Returns” proving there is a grain or more of truth in every story.
Scaring kids at camp also plays a major role in the next story titled “The Candy Bar Game.” A Saturday night highlight and tradition at “Camp Mekanayzn” is about to go very wrong for assistant senior patrol leader Rick in ways he never saw coming.
“Accelerated Justice” leads off the five stories is the “Science Fiction” category though several could have worked just as well in the preceding category. In the not too distant future it was supposed to be a simple trip back and forth across the border for limo driver Jack Hollister and his passenger. Classic issues still plague mankind and Jack Hollister has few options.
A deep space battle might turn the tide for humanity in “Seconds Of Eternity.” Major Parsons knows a thing or two about fighting and will push his Starfury IV to do what absolutely has to be done.
He was supposed to go into a peaceful cryogenic sleep in “Tethered In Purgatory” and await advances in medical science that could save his life. Instead, Thomas Mayvin finds himself conscious in some way and only able to observe his own body and those that come near o him. This is not at all what he paid for.
A newbie reporter two weeks out from graduation and on his first assignment is sent to Florida in “Vegetable Matters.” The reporter is to interview a Mr. Dennis Sherkle on behalf of the “Weekly Electron Star.” All reporter Marvin Petro knows is that his editor told him the story involved corporate theft and property rights. Petro will soon learn what that really means in this incredibly good tale.
Sallie Thurstin and her baby are in real trouble in “The Exchange Box.” That is until Travis Collington shows up with his special box and makes an offer she can’t refuse.
While the next category is referred to as “Inspirational” a more fitting term would be “Literary.” Despite the idea that the stories are uplifting as implied by the category term and their track record of publication, these primarily depressing tales did not strike this reader that way at all.
“It Was A Mistake” details a series of mistakes that led up to the ultimate fate.
“Even Zero Can Add Up To Something” makes a point about the math involved with the number zero. A very short tale that really can’t be described–it just has to be read.
It has been a long trip, but worth it in “The Last Meeting” as a man goes home to the church he grew up in long ago.
The final two stories of the book are found in the closing category of “Mystery.” The first story features a routine day in second period Geometry until the police got involved in “Drug Dogs.” Mitch is about to have his high school life and more turned upside down and then things will get worse.
Modern day archeology and ancient secrets abound in “Fictional History.” Artifacts must be placed in context. A major find could radically change that established context.
Terry W. Ervin II is one of those writers who has many talents. Whether it is the excellent Flank Hawk series or the tales here in Genre Shotgun: A Collection Of Short Fiction the read is a good one. This is one of those rare cases where the blurbs from author Earl Staggs and others accurately portray the book. Short stories in a variety of settings populated with interesting characters facing major and minor moments are present here resulting in a very good read.
Genre Shotgun: A Collection Of Short Fiction
Terry W. Ervin II
Paperback (also available as an e-book)
Material supplied by the author quite some time ago in exchange for my objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2013, 2015
Having spent seven years in San Quentin after a con game went bad, and determined to walk a straight-and-narrow path to avoid a return to prison, John Hayden now lives a deliberately spartan life in a small, cheap room and works as the assistant manager at a bowling alley in Boulder, Colorado, earning eighty-five dollars a week. He’s taking a correspondence course in hotel management, hoping one day to buy a roadhouse outside the city that has rooms upstairs and cabins out back. “The current owner doesn’t know what to do with the place,” he tells Doug Rance. “He’s a lush and he just knows how to sell drinks and how to build himself a case of cirrhosis. With the right kind of operation the place would be a gold mine.”
Rance, nine years younger than Hayden’s forty-two, is someone Hayden met years earlier but never worked with, and who has come looking for him, hoping to persuade him to go back on the grift. Rance was recently in Las Vegas where he met a woman named Evelyn Stone, the titular character. She complained to him about her boss, a man named Wallace J. Gunderman, the intended target of Rance’s depredations–the “mooch,” as marks are referred to in this novel–whom for personal reasons she’d love to see get taken for a great deal of money. Gunderman made his money buying and selling land, and had already once been the victim of a con game involving property in Canada. Rance wants to work yet another Canadian land grift on Gunderman, and thinks Hayden would be the ideal partner. Evelyn Stone would also get a cut for her role in the game.
As much as he fears the prospect of going back to prison should something go wrong, Hayden realizes that his portion of the money they stand to take Gunderman for would enable him to fulfill his roadhouse dream almost immediately instead of requiring him to
work for chump change and save perhaps twenty-five hundred dollars annually for the next nine or ten years while living a desolate excuse for a life. And so he declares himself in, and he and Rance go to elaborate lengths to stage the operation and psych out the mooch. Gunderman is neither stupid nor a fool; he needs to be carefully suckered into buying what Hayden and Rance pretend to sell. They execute their scheme thoroughly and meticulously, taking into account every contingency. They have everything covered, right? Nothing could possibly go wrong, could it?
If I told you, you’d want to kill me for spoiling the fun and excitement. As it is, I’ve given you the barest outline of the novel’s beginning without revealing necessary and intriguing details, minutiae, and subsequent plot developments.
Narrated in the first person by John Hayden, in an unadorned, often staccato prose style, The Girl with the Long Green Heart is one of Lawrence Block’s earliest efforts. It amply demonstrates the storytelling skill, sense of character and pace, that would ultimately win him the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award, and many other literary honors. As has usually been my experience with a Block novel, this one was very hard to put down, and is highly recommended to fans of criminous fiction.
A Derringer Award-winner, Barry Ergang’s fiction, poetry and non-fiction has appeared in numerous publications, print and electronic. Some of his work is available at Smashwords and Amazon. His website is http://www.writetrack.yolasite.com/.
When the Patrolman before you doesn’t do his job and dumps the case on you as quick as he could, it makes your job as detective that much harder. That is the problem that Detectives Coughlin and Holzer face as they go to a house in Palmyrton, New Jersey. Brian Fanning never made it home and his wife Michele called 9-1-1 in a panic earlier today.
What little they have gotten from the Patrolman Danneman does not sound good. Considering what he found, Patrolman Danning may have made a very wise choice in handing the case over to the detectives. One always starts with the spouse and that is what Detectives Coughlin and Holzer will do in Blind Eye: A Short Story Prequel.
Also included in this e-book is chapter one of Another Man’s Treasure, Book 1 in the Palmyrton Estate Sale Mystery Series featuring Detective Sean Coughlin.
This approximately twenty pages short story is an interesting mystery tale with a couple of twists and turns. A fast read it is entertaining and serves as a nice set up for the first book of the series.
According to the gods at Amazon I picked this up in early April 2015. I don’t remember now if I did it via a free read promotion or by way of using funds in my Amazon Associate account.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2015
THE TELL (A Mystery Flash Story) http://kingsriverlife.com/08/08/the-tell-mystery-flash-fiction/
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