Sunday 17 December 2017



Crime Syndicate Magazine Issue One features eight of the funniest, most engaging, and best crime fiction short stories on the market today, including stories by crime author Eric Beetner (this issue's Guest Editor), Art Taylor, Jeff Bowles, James Queally, Paul Heatley, Nick Kolakowski, Tess Makovesky, and C.J. Edwards. 

A man takes his husbandly duties to a whole new, and quite bloody, level in "So Close," by Eric Beetner.

A salesman puts the hard sell on a married couple looking for assurances in the event of the husband's violent demise in "Restoration," by Art Taylor

Criminal enforcer Jack "The Hammer" Palmer has a very public career identity crisis in "Jack The Hammer's Online Identity Crisis," by Jeff Bowles

A poker player tracks down his double-crossing ex-partner for one last game of winner-take-all poker in "On Tilt," by James Queally

A hard-drinking, loser former children's television star needs a miracle to save him from his outstanding debts in "Dee The Friendly Grizzly's Little Miracle," by Nick Kolakowski

A hard-nosed loner exacts revenge on his ex-wife's killer in "God May Forgive You," by Paul Heatley.

A piano-loving husband dishes out a different kind of tune up in "Tuning the Old Joanna," by Tess Makovesky

An honest undercover narcotics agent finds a reason to move on from his current position in "The Line," by C.J. Edwards.

These are not your average mystery stories, they're crime stories, written by some of the best crime authors on the mystery, crime and thriller book scene today!

Another enjoyable collection of short stories accessed through Kindle Unlimited. I've read a couple of these guys before, but it was my first introduction to Art Taylor, C.J. Edwards, Tess Makovesky, Jeff Bowles and James Queally.

I would slightly disagree with the premise that they were the funniest stories around, as there are a couple that were very dark and totally bereft of any humour, not that I'm complaining.

I enjoyed them all. The standouts were for me were Eric Beetner and James Queally. Beetner again stretching the boundaries of believability, but with touches of dark humour that had me buying it. Queally with his poker tale of revenge had my attention throughout. Paul Heatley's God May Forgive You was just what I would expect from him - pitch, black darkness.

A great way of spending a couple of hours in the company of adulterers, card sharks, Russian gangsters, honest cops, a down on his luck ex-children's TV star, an unscrupulous insurance salesman, vengeful ex-lovers and an online hitman suffering from a crisis of confidence.

There's an interesting interview at the end with Eric Beetner which describes his writing career and his (now somewhat dated) plans for the future. There's some hat tips to other authors I ought to be reading, but I've got most of them covered already. I'm a Beetner fan , so I enjoyed the piece as much as any of the stories.

I have issues 2 and 3 of this magazine on the pile which I'm looking forward to. The constant is Michael Pool, teaming up each time with a different guest editor.

I've enjoyed Pool's work before and would have liked to have seen one of his stories in the collection.

Michael Pool has his website here.

His Midnight at the San Franciscan featured on the blog here.

4 from 5

Read in December, 2017
Published - 2015
Page count - 116
Source - Kindle Unlimited
Format - Kindle


  1. Glad you enjoyed this collection, Col. Interesting, isn't it, how a blurb will include things like 'funniest,' when that's not really true. At any rate, the stories sound engaging, if dark, and I'm glad they were to your liking.

    1. It was a great collection Margot - not a dud in sight, but yep - I couldn't see humour in all of them, not that the collection was any the worse for that.

  2. Glad to see that you are getting some good out of the Kindle unlimited. I can read some things free using Amazon Prime but since I am still not comfortable with e-reading, haven't tried that. I should.

    1. They offered a three month free trial, so greedy guts that I am I thought I would gorge myself until the end of February before cancelling. I'll have to otherwise I will never read any of my owned books. I'm rapidly converting to e-reading though still struggle with longer books for some reason. Sometimes it can be tiring on my eyes, because in my work life I stare at a computer screen for hours a day.

    2. The fact that I spend so much of my life at work (and at home) on the computer is one of my reasons. The other is that I read later at night, and it can affect my ability to go to sleep, which is always a problem.

    3. My most productive time for reading is the evening. Reading in bed has the opposite effect and sends me off to sleep before I get too much read.

  3. Like Tracy, I'm interested that you are using Kindle Unlimited. It kind of terrfies me...

    1. (Fat fingers posted too soon)... the idea of all those books available all at once is daunting, I don't think I could cope! I do love my Kindle though - I recently lost mine, and was completely thrown, I had to order a new one very quickly. Its arrival was delayed and I really was put out!

    2. It is a bit scary, though not everything is available in the subscription, mainly books at the cheaper end of the market. Glad you sorted yourself out a new device, and annoying about the delay.