Thirty-one bullets that will leave you gasping for breath…
From hardboiled to noir to just plain human, these stories allow you to experience lives you escaped, and to do so with dignity, humor, and an eye toward tomorrow.
“What sets those particular stories apart is their ability to catch the browns and grays of the characters quickly, subtly and persuasively.” —Barnstable Patriot
“The sometime EQMM poet is so smoothly readable, explores such a variety of inventive situations, and is so ambitious in structure and theme, even the stories that don’t quite hit the mark make enjoyable reading.” —Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
“Each story is fresh and original, set against a New England backdrop, and includes colorful characters from diverse walks of life. Each plot twists and turns to its totally surprising and unpredictable ending.” —Examiner
I always get a good feeling when I'm about to crack the spine (ok swipe the Kindle in this case) on a new book from publisher All Due Respect. Maybe a little bit more if it's an author I'm unfamiliar with. Stephen D. Rogers, short story specialist is a new name to me.
My OCD completist self dictates that I list all 31 shorts in the collection.
They are ....
The Big Score
BOGO in Aisle Three
Custody Battle at Red Creek
Death Buys a Burger
Dog Named Mule
Fill it With the Cheapest
A Friendly Game
Have a Nice Day
Itching for Scratch
Jumping the Fence
Raising the Bar
Tenant at Will
Unweaving the Rainbow
Whacking for Gomez
Where's the Beef
Supermarkets, bars, cons, hits, domestic strife, juvenile delinquency or a police shakedown?, lawyers, competition, child custody, a fast food revolution and an ex-con catching up with an old acquaintance, a consultancy gig, room service, drugs and dogs, a road trip with a difference, community softball, a convenience store stick-up, a bank job and a double cross, diner chats - dodgy business negotiations, bartenders and plans, crooked cops, straight cops and PI patsys, card games, drinking games - truth or dare, college roommates and excitement, a locked room mystery, a mother's guilt, working girl's and rent due, salacious photographs, a mother's love, tenement rats, a slow-witted son, mother-daughter tensions, job rivalries, hamburger theft.
All the stories feature criminality, poor decisions, people down on their luck, love, infidelity, anger, jealousy, not necessarily greed per se but sometimes an involvement in crime due to economic necessity and circumstances as opposed to career choices.
Great stories, most of which hit the spot. Only a couple slid by me.
A few of them I may have encountered in an earlier reading life having first seen the light of day at the likes of Plots With Guns, Hardluck Stories, Thrilling Detective (to mention three) in the first decade of the century.
He claimed to have received Jesus but his wife suspected that any ecstasy he might be experiencing had less to do with conversion to Christ than with an ex-girlfriend in Wareham.
4 from 5
Read - July, 2021
Published - 2021
Page count - 230
Source - purchased copy
Format - Kindle