Sunday, December 28, 2014
Dark Corners (Winter 2014 issue) edited by CT McNeely, Emily McNeely and Steve Gallagher
(pb; pulp fiction magazine/anthology: Winter 2014, Vol. 1 Issue 2)
Another excellent issue of this promising magazine, this: it has twenty-nine pieces which range from down 'n' dirty crime and Western fiction (sometimes with a touch of the supernatural and the bizarre) to author, book and publishing house reviews (e.g., a review of All Due Repect Books, as well as several works by authors mentioned in the "Standout stories" section below) -- in short, Dark Corners magazine is something that all noir and pulp fans should purchase and otherwise support. (Another purchase link for this issue on Amazon.com will be available soon.)
Get your copy now, if you can.
1.) "The Rehab Tiffany" - Greg Garth: An ex-Marine-for-hire takes on a gang who put his friend's sister in the hospital. Straightforward, well-written and rough action-revenge story that's all appropriate attitude and no filler.
2.) "The Lost Sock" - Will Viharo: Mood-effective desperation, dread, eroticism and surrealism highlight this pop culture-savvy and lust-crusty work about a down-on-his-luck man trying to locate a missing sock. Excellent, Twilight Zone-esque tale, this.
3.) "The Joe Flacco Defense" - Eryk Pruitt: A dissatisfied wife kills her Fantasy Football Idiot husband then covers it up - perhaps too enthusiastically. Darkly funny work that, in an updated, reworked and lighter spirit, reminded me (in a good way) of a similarly structured tale I recently read: Richard Stark's "The Curious Facts Preceding My Execution" (published in the 1962 anthology Alfred Hitchcock's A Hangman's Dozen). Fun piece.
4.) "Davey Jones' Locker" - V.A. Freeman: Another fun read about a man (Pete) who become a sailor on a boat whose captain is not only incredibly brave, but might possess some disturbing - if somewhat out-in-the-open - habits. Eagle-eyed readers will likely see where this story is headed, but it's still an entertaining ride.
5.) "I Don't Want You To See" - Thomas Livingston: A low-level drug dealer gets an unwanted, dangerous promotion because of someone with a big mouth. Well-written, gritty story.
6.) "Spare Change" - April Hawks: Interesting piece about a life-lucky man (Calvin) whose blessed streak ends in tragedy, altering him in drastic ways. Fun, effective tone-twist shift at the finish.
7.) "Zombies, F##king Zombies" - Max Sheridan: In a country overrun by undead (who are only good for killing and sex), a man (Carmine) puts out a hit on his live-in mother-in-law. Things go badly, of course, and the combination of the above elements make this a fun read.
8.) "Bellringers" - Emily Moore: Darkly humorous Aesops Fable-esque tale about a physically-assaulted waitress, holiday donations and people in general. Good read.
9.) "Burnt Wood" - Warren Moore: A cowboy, after a long desert ride, spends the night in a Old Western town (Burnt Wood, Colorado) and finds that everything he has been led to believe about this town is wrong.
Moore takes what would be an Amateur Hour Cliché in lesser hands and turns it into an effective twist that makes this story memorable, when combined with its smart, humane finish. I enjoyed this story a lot.