Short stories about crimes which were crimes in the past but are no longer. Well, not in USA anway.

Publication year: 2015
Format: ebook
Page count: 251
Publisher: WMG Publishing

Some of these stories are about rights for other humans than heterosexual white males. But they are still quite a varied bunch, even though most of them are set in the USA. Some of them remind us about things that history tends to forget, like that the Jewish people weren’t the only ones killed in Nazi camps.

However, quite a few of these stories are somber and depressing because the world can be a nasty place, especially when the people around you all condemn you for your actions or simply for existing.

The Color of Guilt by Annie Reed: Josef is a Holocaust survivor and is troubled by his past for many reasons.

Hiro’s Welcome by Patrick O’Sullivan: Sergeant Kintoki Hiro is coming home to California after fighting in the Second World War. He wants to marry his sweetheart. But there’s just one problem: she’s white.

The American Flag of Sergeant Hale Schofield by Kelly Washington: Willa’s father came home from the Vietnam war when she was very young. He has nightmares which won’t stop and he visits the Arlington National Cemetery every year for a fellow soldier’s grave and takes the US flag from it. Then he burns the flag. Willa finally understands why.

Combat Medic by Kris Nelscott: June Eagleton was a medic for five years in the Vietnam war. Now, she lives in Berkeley and is horrified to wake up at the sound of combat helicopters. It’s May 1969 near People’s Park.

Night of the Healer by Tonya D. Price: Pierre-Joseph Wawanolewat is heading to Boston to cure a sick woman. But the journey is filled with danger for the simple reason that he’s a Native American and during this time there weren’t any laws which protected him. And the police officer following him isn’t making things any easier.

The Quality of Mercy by Michele Lang: Mrs. Abigail Abbott’s late husband was a lawyer and he taught Abigail, too. However, in the 1800s women can’t practice law so she has to use more roundabout means to help people.

Daughter of Joy by Cindie Geddes: Ah Toy is a young Chinese wife on her way to America. Her abusive childhood has taught her that gold is the only thing that can give her freedom. So, she will use her only asset.

Democracy by Mario Milosevic: The small town of Glory has a dilemma: the vote for the next sheriff is a tie. Robin is woman masquerading as a man and so she has voted, illegally. Her vote will have more power than anyone in the town would have believed.

Sisters in Suffrage by Debbie Mumford: Emily Tuttle joins the Silent Sentinels who are picketing President Wilson’s office. Little does she know what is to follow.

Knocked Up by Elliotte Rusty Harold: When a high school girl gets pregnant in a small town in Kentucky, her choices are pretty limited.

O Best Beloved by Angela Penrose: Marceau’s wife is giving birth and he’s afraid that his sins will become manifest in the child.

Sunshine by Michael Kowal: The narrator is a gumshoe in 1930s and he’s helping an actress, Little Jackie Sunshine, who has a terrible family.

The Harper’s Escape by Anthea Sharp: Bronagh O’Riada is harper and a bard but after Oliver Cromwell invaded Ireland she became a fugitive unable to practice her craft.

As the Berimbau Begins to Play by Paul Eckheart: In Rio de Janeiro, the narrator is introduced to a game which was then technically illegal which was and is very popular.

Death of the Turban by Bill Beatty: Veli Yaziz is a detective in post-Atatürk Turkey where some traditions are illegal and some are merely frowned upon. His assistant works for the secret police and is spying on him while he investigates the murder of a hodja (a holy man) who is now an outlaw.

On the Edge of the Nations by Dan C. Duval: Cellie and her Mama were house slaves but now they’re on the run, trying to keep out of sight from the slave hunters.

Window Frame, Handprint, Bloodstain by M. Elizabeth Castle: A story in a haiku form, set in April 4, 1968.

The White Game by Ron Collins: In 1963 in Alabama, even playing in a baseball game can be a crime with disproportional punishment if your skin has a different color. An old journalist reminiscent what happened and what he thinks happened in May that year.

I liked all of these stories, but my favorites were “The Harper’s Escape”, “Combat Medic”, “The Night of the Healer”, “Quality of Mercy”, and “Death of the Turban”. “Democracy” is deliciously ironic. “Daughter of Joy” and “Sisters in Suffrage” are just chilling but for different reasons.

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