A short story collection centered on modern crime.

Publication year: 2014
Format: audiobook
Running time: 8 hours, 11 minute
Narrated by: Jerimy Colbert, Jane Kennedy, Dan Boice
Publisher: WMG Publishing

The collection has 15 stories. Only a few of them have someone trying to solve a case but all of them have a prominent criminal element. Sometimes the characters are criminals or other people in whose lives crimes are somehow prominent.

The first story is ”Hitler’s Dogs” by Doug Allyn. Doc is a former member of Fat Jack’s gang and has returned for his former boss’ funeral. Someone drove over Fat Jack and Doc is determined to find out who.
”Wheel of Fortune” by Steve Hockensmith: The main character is a young girl moving around US with her mother and Biddle. The adults are conmen, doing insurance frauds and other stuff. For fun, the girl and Biddle do a trick with a raffle ticket.
”The Good Brother” by Brendan DuBois is a story about two brothers. One of them is a criminal on the run who turns to his brother, the lawyer, for help.
”FoL” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch: Nico is a rich young man cruising his way through law school. Then his room in his dorm is burned down and he’s framed for it. He’s left with a strange calling card: FoL. His father makes the charges go away and Nico turns his life around and graduates with honors. But when he tries to apply for an excellent job, strange letters smears his character. Once again, he encounters the strange letters FoL.
”These boots were made for murder” by Julie Hyzy is written in the first person POV. The young female narrator is sleeping with a middle-aged cop Brody because her mother has a deal with him. But a new neighbor, Mal, takes the young girl under her wing and teaches her actual skills. Unfortunately, neither Brody nor the girl’s mother like that.
”Because” by Melissa Yi is one of the shorter stories about motherhood.
”City of Light and Darkness” by Daemon Crowe is set in the year 1968. Kevin Cooper has been stranded penniless in Paris because he doesn’t want to fight in the Vietnam war. He asks help from acquaintance but it has price that Kevin has to decide to pay.
”No good deed” by Libby Fischer Hellman is set in the 1960s. Luther is a member of Klu Klux Klan and was sentenced to prison for lynching a black person. Then, a young black man sent to the same prison for raping a white woman.
”Rationing” by Karen Fonville is set in USA during WWII. The 13-year old narrator needs more money after an accident. She goes around the village looking for anyone who can trade food stamps for work, but she finds a body instead. The body is of Mrs Schmidt who has lived in the village for years with her husband. But now the government has taken her husband away and the villagers treat her with hostility.
”Neutrality” by Karen L. Abrahamson: The narrator, A. C. Turner, works as a family counselor in family court. She sees a lot of broken, angry families. She’s now assigned a case where she has to decide if a little girl is going to go to her drug using, prostitute mother or her drug using, entrepreneur father. Both have said that they’ve stopped using, but Turner has seen too much to believe them.
”Plan B” by Kate Wilhelm has a fun twist on a familiar plot. Jackson is looking for a companion to his elderly aunt. He meets Ruth Leary at a local old folks home and she seems a perfect fit to make the old aunt laugh every now and then. However, Ruth soon finds out that things aren’t what they look like.
”Gas, Tan, Video” by M. Elizabeth Castle is a mystery in Haiku form.
”Jackrabbit DMZ” by Annie Reed is a story about patrol deputy Jill Jordan. She patrols Highway 50 which is a long and lonely patch of road in Nevada desert. Lots of people think that the rules don’t apply to them, here. Also, in such small rural towns the good old boy networks even try to suppress crimes which are considered minor, but they can be life threatening.
”Eyes on my cards” by Dean Wesley Smith starring Doc Hill, a professional poker player, and narrated by the author. Doc and his team, Annie and Fleet, are called in when a friend suspects a cheater in his casino. Doc is a former detective. His friend knows who the cheater is but he isn’t able to figure out how it’s done.
”Jokers” by M. Elizabeth Castle is set in a mapping company where socially awkward and sexist Stanley works. As a joke, he sometimes adds non-existent roads into the maps. The new intern, Britney, isn’t quite as bad as usual, but she makes him nervous in a strange way.
”Photo World” by J.C. Andrijeski starts during the first day of the year 1990. Meg works as a printer in a photoshop. In fact, she’s the best printer in the shop and the local police station brings to her crime scene photos to print. To her shock, she realized that this time the dead woman is her former roommate and she sees a clue in the pictures.

I enjoyed all of the stories. The most memorable ones were ”The Good Brother”, ”These boots were made for murder”, ”Plan B”, and ”Photo World”. ”No good deed” is also quite memorable and was uncomfortable to read, but in a good way, I guess.

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