Herschel Cozine wins 2017 Derringer for Best Flash Story!

The results of the 2017 Derringer Awards were released today and we’re pleased to say Herschel Cozine won a Derringer in the “Best Flash” category for THE PHONE CALL, which was published in the Summer 2016 issue of Flash Bang Mysteries.

We want to extend our sincerest congratulations to Herschel for receiving such a prestigious award, and we are forever honored that he allowed us to publish his work. For those wishing to read this award-winning story, click the story title below and enjoy!

THE PHONE CALL by Herschel Cozine (Summer 2016)

In addition to Herschel’s winning story, three of the four finalists in the 2017 “Best Flash” category were featured in Flash Bang Mysteries, and we want to also congratulate these writers and thank them for submitting their exceptional work to us. To read their stories, click the links below:

AFTERMATH by Craig Faustus Buck (Spring 2016)

A JUST REWARD by O’Neil De Noux (Winter 2016)

An Ill Wind by R.T. Lawton (Spring 2016)

We’re proud of these writers and honored that they chose to submit their work to Flash Bang Mysteries

Author Reveal for Winter/January 2017 Issue

After careful review, Brandon and I have selected the stories for the Winter/January 2017 Issue of FBM. We’ve also picked the cover story and editors’ choice for this issue, which happen to be one and the same: MEAN GIRL by Barbara Eliasson. It packs one hell of a punch!

This is another great issue and we’re honored that these writers submitted their work to us. Read and enjoy!

Flash Bangs

BEAUTY by Bruce Harris

BUNKER MENTALITY by Craig Faustus Buck

MEAN GIRL by Barbara Eliasson

THE GIFT by C.M. Saunders

THE GUEST ROOM by John Frain

UNSIGNED, SEALED, AND DELIVERED by John M. Floyd

Cover Story

MEAN GIRL by Barbara Eliasson

Editors’ Choice

MEAN GIRL by Barbara Eliasson

 

Review: MURDER ON WHEELS: ELEVEN TALES OF CRIME ON THE MOVE (Editor: Ramona DeFelice Long)

Murder On Wheels: Eleven Tales Of Crime On The Move features short stories where various wheeled modes of transportation past and present serve as a key part of each tale. The tales come from six authors known as the “Austin Mystery Writers” as well as two award winning authors outside the group, Earl Staggs and Reavis Z. Wortham. Edited by Ramona DeFelice Long, the short stories that follow a brief introduction by Kaye George feature a lot of variety in style and complexity.

The stranger in town has quite the effect on people. While the men see him as trouble, that same quality is a serious attraction for the fairer sex. That is especially for Rosemary, a fifteen year old looking for a way out of her small town life. Whether or not Campbell Reed is the answer to her dreams is the question in “A Nice Set Of Wheels” by Kathy Waller.

Running moonshine has gone on for decades in the bottom lands of northeast Texas. In “Family Business” by Reavis Z. Wortham illegal liquor has paid the bills as well as caused a lot of problems and heartache. It is the business of the Caissen family and comes with a cost.

Fourteen year old stowaway Tim Brooks thought he would hide on the merchant ship until it arrived in port in Charleston. He picked the vessel Rota Fortunae to hide aboard and that was a serious mistake in this tale of the same name by V. P. Chandler. There is a secret in her hold and one that can’t be explained easily. Out of all the tales in the book this one of adventure, and the mystical was my personal favorite.

It is just after World War II in Hollywood as “Mome Rath, My Sweet” by Gale Albright begins. Private Investigator Grimm has a major problem as Joey Dormouse is dead and Grimm is being blamed.  He should have known the woman billing herself as “Miss Wonderland” who claimed she wanted nothing more than her sister found would be nothing but trouble. After all, Mome Rath is the biggest gangster on the west coast and more famous in all the wrong ways than Al Capone.

The route from Knoxville to D. C. is usually simple enough. The bus is one of those jumbo buses that have two levels. People take the ride, look at the scenery, and have fun. A difficult passenger can change things in “The Wheels On The Bus Go Round And Round” by Kaye George.

As the rest of the family has repeatedly pointed out, Mary should have never married her Italian husband, Marco. Her family is Irish and there are cultural issues. Then there is his behavior and his insistence on joining the family business in “Buon Viaggio” by Laura Oles.

Faye and her husband, Fred, are at opposite sides in their marriage. He loves riding his bicycles and is all about fitness. He now even wants to go vegan. Faye understands they have grown older and would prefer they stay home together and be cool and comfortable in their house. In “Aporkalypse Now” by Gale Albright the situation is definitely not a bicycle built for two.

Family stress also takes a major role in “Have A Nice Trip” also by Kaye George. Prissy has a difficult, to say the least, mother-in-law named Abigail. While Prissy’s husband, Trey, is aware and agrees they should go on their long delayed honey moon, one wonders if he truly understands Prissy’s needs.

There is an old adage about how one should write what one knows. Early Staggs knows all about driving school buses. One hopes he does not truly know about dead men on school buses. In his story “Dead Man On A School Bus” being Police Chief in the suburb of Southlake was supposed to an easy gig after thirty years of hard work on the police force over in Fort Worth. The chief has seen a lot of dead bodies, but the one found early this morning on a school bus is a new experience.

It is not a good thing when one walks into the kitchen and finds elderly Mom stirring in ground glass in the lemon meringue pie filling. Something has to be done to make sure Mom does not get thrown into prison in “Hell On Wheels” by Kathy Walker. The family has to have a plan and that means they have to work together.

Billy Ray Bryant always has one thing going wrong or another and needs a favor from Red Clark. Such is the case in “Red’s White F-150 Blues” by Scott Montgomery. Billy needs to hide his truck in Red’s garage to keep it away from the local repo man, Jerry Coonts. Red has been married long enough to know that the coming argument with his wife Britney over hiding the truck will be shorter if the dead is already done before she gets home.

A two page biography of each author brings the book to a close.

Slipping back and forth in time and set in various locations in Texas and elsewhere the eleven tales in this book are all good ones. Some are more adventure orientated than straight mystery and at least a couple are very noir like in their situations. Murder On Wheels: Eleven Tales Of Crime On The Move is a solidly good anthology from eight talented authors and one that is well worth your time.

Murder On Wheels: Eleven Tales Of Crime On The Move
Editor Ramona DeFelice Long
Wildside Press LLC
http://www.wildsidebooks.com
April 2015
ISBN# 978-1-4794-0554-1
Paperback (also available in eBook format)
152 Pages
$12.99

Material supplied by the publisher some time ago in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2016

Review: APOCALYPSE SOON (Kyler Knightly and Damon Cole Volume 2) by Garnett Elliot

Timelines are tricky things as readers were reminded in Carnosaur Weekend. Agents Kyler Knightly and Damon Cole are back in Apocalypse Soon. The work of protecting the timelines by Continuity Inc. is ongoing,  difficult, and relies on everyone sharing the same common goal and following the rules.

In the signature story of this second volume of the series one Continuity Inc. technician by the name of Paul Dirac has gone rouge. His ongoing obsession with Pre-Apocalypse North America and vintage cars was thought to be a quirk one expected from a genius. The company shrink had perceived his obsessive interest as nothing to be concerned about and cleared him to work. Proving the shrink wrong, Dirac has gone rogue and jumped back in time to “Old Vegas” in the year 2035. He took a lot of supplies with him which means he is not coming back. What he plans to do there is unknown, but he can’t be allowed to do more damage than he has already done simply by going back then. Kyler and Damo have to go after him as fast as possible and bring him back alive. Easier said than done.

“Babylon Heist” comes next where Kyler Knightly is sent back approximately 3000 years to prevent a theft. Continuity Inc. got a tip that another time traveler had been sent back to collect a priceless artifact for a collector in the 23rd century. Kyler knows what they are after, but has no idea of the identity of the time traveler. So, he is working undercover in the Babylonian underworld trying to make contacts and gather information. 770 B.C. is a dangerous place and he has no idea whom he can trust.

Billed as a “Bonus Story” the final tale “Strontium Dreams” has nothing to do with Kyler and Damon or Continuity Inc. for that matter. Time travel may or may not be involved. What is clear is that it is a future world and one so decimated that survival means doing anything you have to survive.  Having the stamp of “genetic undesirable” on your forehead helps keep you away from the collectors looking to salvage organs for the wealthy and keeps the rest of you out of the taco meat sold by vendors in the Jetsam Flats. One does not want to become taco meat.

Like the past, the future is not always pretty and certainly not here in these short stories written by Garnett Elliot. Whether it is Red Venus or Dragon By The Bay, Scorched Noir, or his efforts in the Drifter Detective Series, or the aforementioned Carnosaur Weekend, a hint of hard edged noir prevails no matter the setting. It doesn’t matter if one is vicariously on Venus fighting humans and alien life, running from dinosaurs, or shooting it out to bring back the rogue employee, that dark nourish edge of crime fiction is always there in the works of Garnett Elliot. One could easily make the argument that these are primarily crime fiction tales in a science fiction setting Those works are also very good reads that tell complex tales with plenty of action and adventure.

Apocalypse Soon is yet another example of Mr. Elliott’s steadily increasing body of work. If you have not read him yet you really should. The only question is where and when you wish to start.

Apocalypse Soon (Kyler Knightly and Damon Cole Volume 2)
Garnett Elliot
Beat To A Pulp
http://www.beattoapulp.com
February 2016
ISBN# 978-1943035144
Paperback (also available in eBook format)
104 Pages
$5.95

Material was supplied in paperback format by the publisher three months ago in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2016