Saturday 2 July 2022



Edited by award-winning crime-fiction author Vern Smith, JACKED runs the gamut in crime fiction. From hard-boiled to humorous to gritty noir to straight-up mystery, the anthology promises to please the most diverse and discriminating reading audience. With offerings from heavy-hitters like Matt Witten, Andrew Miller, Meagan Lucas, Eric Beetner, and Allison Whittenberg, and equally impressive contributions by relative newcomers to crime fiction, like Paul Alexander, Zephaniah Sole, and Meredith Craig, JACKED is a debut anthology not to be missed.

Jacked is a cracking anthology of short stories from a bunch of authors, some familiar and some previously unheard of. I'm a massive fan of Eric Beetner and have books to get to from Matt Witten, Meagan Lucas and Andrew Miller.

The full anthology line up is.....

Paul Alexander - Shorty Cocked His Gun .... probably best not to practice stand-up comedy with a live firearm

Eric Beetner - First Timers ..... car theft, consequences, a career opportunity

Michelle Anne King - Apples and Trees .... 'But that’s my father for you. Nothing and nobody ever quite measures up.' - a takeover in the family business

Matt Witten - The Tik Tok Murder .... multiple POV tale of murder, investigation, resolution

Andrew Miller - Samurai '81 .... a Japanese Brotherhood in the LAPD, a murder case

Philip Moscovitch - Carver's Mistake .... a stagecoach robbery with reluctant partners 

Jenna Junior - Mitsubishi Murder Ballad .... first love never dies

Allison Whittenberg - Killing in Periot ... an abusive parent, brotherly love

Shane Leavy - Fighting the Last War .... an Irish tale, the lads, the craic, a fight, consequences

Christine Boyer - Skeleton Filing .... ugly but smart, just not that smart

Gregory Jeffers - Frostbite .... a lawyer and a femme fatale

Meredith Craig - Living the "DolceVita" .... a taker taken 

Tom McCulloch - The Drop .... a man, a bag, a bridge

Anne Louise Bannon - Nick Flaherty and the Body in the Lab .... chemists vs North Koreans

W. C. Gordon - Live, Like a Suicide ... live streaming death

Joseph S. Pete - Junking the Evidence .... bikers, reputations, plans, consequences

Meagan Lucas - Picking the Carcass .... gold in the woods

Jacqueline Seewald - Worst Enemy ... a PI case, DNA don't lie or does it

Stephen James Cordin - The Double Cross and the Double Cross .... no honour among thieves

Ricky Sprague - The Gryfters ..... a friend taking advantage

I don't think there was a story I disliked or that left me scratching my head which is unusual for such a sizeable collection.

Favourites of the bunch....First Timers (Beetner), Carver's Mistake (Moscovitch), Junking the Evidence (Pete)

There's lots of variety in the content..... murder, suicide, gangs, conspiracies, espionage, sex, stick-ups, insurance fraud, investigations, cops, criminals, lawyers and unhappy families.

4.5 stars from 5

Hopefully Vern Smith and publisher RunAmok Books will be back with a second volume.

Read - June, 2022

Published - 2022

Page count - 205

Source - review copy from publisher RunAmok Books  

Format - ePUB read on laptop


  1. These stories sound great, Col! I like the variety in them; I think that can really add to a collection. And it's good to know there were no disappointments. It's hard to pull that off in an anthology!

    1. A top notch collection of stories, Margot.

  2. I’ve heard of a few of the authors and enjoy their writing. I just bought it and am looking forward to the read!