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About Michael Bracken
Although Michael Bracken is the author of several books—including the hardboiled private eye novel "All White Girls" and the young adult romance "Just in Time for Love"—he is best known as the author of more than 1,200 short stories. He has written in nearly every genre but has been most successful with women's fiction and hardboiled crime fiction, two genres that couldn't be more unalike.
Recipient of the 2016 Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer Award for lifetime achievement in short mystery fiction, Michael is also an Edgar Award nominee, a Shamus Award nominee, and a three-time recipient of the Derringer Award for his short mystery fiction, with three additional nominations.
Additionally, Michael is the editor of Black Cat Mystery Magazine and editor of several crime fiction anthologies, including the Anthony Award-nominated The Eyes of Texas: Private Eyes from the Panhandle to the Piney Woods and the three-volume Fedora series, and stories from his anthologies have received or been short-listed for the Anthony, Derringer, Edgar, Macavity, Shamus, and Thriller awards.
He has contributed articles to "The Writer" and other writing publications, contributed a chapter to the writing textbook "Many Genres, One Craft," is one of five authors featured in "Writing Erotica," and is extensively quoted in "The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists." He regularly speaks about writing, editing, and publishing to audiences across the U.S. and Mexico.
Additional information about Michael, including a selected bibliography and his speaking schedule, is available at: www.CrimeFictionWriter.com. He is one of a rotating group of crime fiction writers who blog at SleuthSayers.org.
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Titles By Michael Bracken
Writing short stories takes “Skill. Discipline. Knowledge of the form while not being formulaic,” contends Louise Penny in her introduction. “In a short story there is nowhere to hide. Each must be original, fresh, inspired.” Originality is just what’s in store for readers of the twenty clever, creative selections in The Best American Mystery Stories 2018. There’s no hiding from a Nigerian confidence game, a drug made of dinosaur bones, a bombing at an oil company, a reluctant gunfighter in the Old West, and the many other scams, dangers, and thrills lurking in its suspenseful pages.
The Best American Mystery Stories 2018 includes T. C. Boyle, James Lee Burke, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Charlaine Harris, Andrew Klavan, Martin Limón, Joyce Carol Oates, and others.
Collected by Anthony and Dagger Award-winner and eminent editor Maxim Jakubowski, The Book of Extraordinary Historical Mystery Stories features never-before-seen stories by some of the most renowned American and British crime and thriller authors of today, offering a showcase of puzzling, adventurous, and atmospheric short fiction—set in eras ranging from prehistory to medieval, Victorian to World War II, and starring detectives both professional and amateur.
Contributors include Linda Stratmann, Amy Myers, Lavie Tidhar, Jane Finnis, O’Neil de Noux, Ashley Lister, Eric Brown, Kate Ellis, A.K. Benedict, and others.
SEVEN CARD JOKER HIGH, by Trey R. Barker
THE LOSER, by Robert Guffey
BLEST BE THE TIE THAT BINDS, by Michael Bracken
THE MAGNIFICENT SCORE, by John Hegenberger
WORSE THAN DEATH, by Robert Lopresti
THE LAST THING HE REMEMBERED, by Patricia Dusenbury
PAINT THE CLOWN RED, by Laird Long
THE CONTAGIOUS KILLER, by Bryce Walton
- THE LAST GASP, by H.K. Slade
- SPOOK, by Emilio DeGrazia
- OUT OF A FOG, by Barb Goffman
- EL PESCADOR ZURDO, by Tom Larsen
- A BLUE UMBRELLA SKY, by R.S. Morgan
- DEATH WILL GIVE YOU A REASON, by Elizabeth Zelvin
- THE MANNEQUIN GRAVEYARD, by Gregory L. Norris
- SAVING THE INDIANA DAE, by Vicki Weisfeld
- THE CONTROL TOWER, by Janice Law
- SLOW DOWN, by Steve Liskow
- BURNIN BUTT, TEXAS, by Mark Troy
- AFFAIR OF LAMSON’S COOK, by Charles Felton
Michael Allan Mallory - L D Masterson - Lorraine Sharma Nelson - Alan Orloff - A.B. Polomski - Rima Perlstein Riedel - Verena Rose - Barbara Ross - Harriette Sackler - Shawn Reilly Simmons - Louise Taylor - Elaine Togneri - Leslie Wheeler
Melissa H. Blaine
John M. Floyd
Eleanor Cawood Jones
This is a special issue—our 50th, as you may have noticed from our cover. To celebrate, all past and present editors were to contribute a story. (It helps that they are also amazingly talented writers.) So we have stories from Michael Bracken, Barb Goffman, Paul Di Filippo, Darrell Schweitzer, and Cynthia Ward in addition to our other fare.
But wait! There’s more!
This issue features four original tales—Elizabeth Zelvin has a fantasy/mystery stories, Phyllis Ann Karr has a weird western, and Cynthia Ward has a gonzo science fiction crowd-funding story. And I have completed a story by the late H.B. Fyfe, who was best known for his science fiction stories, though this one is a revenge tale that most closely fits the mystery genre.
And the good stuff doesn’t stop there. We also have a superhero story from Darrell Schweitzer. Space Opera from Algis Budrys and E.E. “Doc” Smith. A historical mystery novel by western author B.M. Bower. A historical investigation from Charles Todd. A Mallworld story from Somtow Sucharitkul (who also writes as S.P. Somtow). And no issue is complete without a solve-it-yourself mystery by Hal Charles.
All in all, this is an probably our best Black Cat Weekly yet.
Here’s the complete lineup:
Mysteries / Suspense / Adventure:
“The Ladies of Wednesday Tea” by Michael Bracken [short story]
“Hidden in Plain Sight” by Hal Charles [Solve-It-Yourself Mystery]
“Ice Ice Baby” by Barb Goffman [short story]
“Flayed” by H.B. Fyfe and John Gregory Betancourt [short story]
“Blood Money” by Charles Todd [Barb Goffman Presents short story]
“The House of Marble” by Elizabeth Zelvin [Michael Bracken Presents short story]
The Eagle’s Wing, by B.M. Bower [novel]
Science Fiction & Fantasy:
“The House of Marble” by Elizabeth Zelvin [Michael Bracken Presents short story]
“The Rise and Fall of Whistle-Pig City” by Paul Di Filippo [short story]
“Rabid in Mallworld” by Somtow Sucharitkul [short story]
“Fighting the Zeppelin Gang” by Darrell Schweitzer [short story]
“Winona of Bleeding Kansas” by Phyllis Ann Karr [short story]
“The Campaign Is Now Officially Complete” by Cynthia Ward [short story]
“Blood on my Jets” by Algis Budrys [short story]
The Skylark of Valeron, by Edward E. Smith, Ph.D. [novel]
Contributors push hard against the boundaries of crime fiction, driving their work into places short crime fiction doesn’t often go, into a world where the mean streets seem gentrified by comparison and happy endings are the exception rather than the rule. And they do all this in contemporary settings, bringing noir into the 21st century.
Like any good cocktail, Mickey Finn is a heady mix of ingredients that packs a punch, and when you’ve finished reading every story, you’ll know that you’ve been “slipped a Mickey.”
The twenty contributors, some of today’s most respected short-story writers and new writers making their mark on the genre, include J.L. Abramo, Ann Aptaker, Trey R. Barker, Michael Bracken, Barb Goffman, David Hagerty, James A. Hearn, David H. Hendrickson, Jarrett Kaufman, Mark R. Kehl, Hugh Lessig, Steve Liskow, Alan Orloff, Josh Pachter, Steve Rasnic Tem, Mikal Trimm, Bev Vincent, Joseph S. Walker, Andrew Welsh-Huggins, and Stacy Woodson.
In this collection, twelve award-winning writers of short crime fiction tackle the Joel catalog, and the result—edited by Josh Pachter, whose The Beat of Black Wings: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Joni Mitchell earned rave reviews in 2020—is a journey down life’s mean streets with a soundtrack by one of the great singer-songwriters of our time, and contributors Michael Bracken, Jeff Cohen, David Dean, John M. Floyd, Barb Goffman, James D.F. Hannah, Richard Helms, Robert Lopresti, Jenny Milchman, Terrie Farley Moran, Richie Narvaez, and Pachter himself are donating a third of their royalties to support the work of the Joel Foundation.
In the Gospel According to Billy, only the good die young. Within these pages, though, Death is an equal-opportunity exterminator, and the stories you’ll find here don’t just hit the charts: they go all the way to Number One … with a bullet!
Suburbia, by Michael Bracken
The Sorority House, by Eve Fisher
Tourist Season, by JM Taylor
Diversions, by John M. Floyd
The List, by Charlie Drees
Something Certain, by Peter W. J. Hayes
The Moment of Righting, by Robb T. White
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, by Ashley Lynch-Harris
The Target, by Charlie Hughes
Whale Watch, by Charles Roland
In The Great Filling Station Holdup, editor Josh Pachter presents sixteen short crime stories by sixteen popular and up-and-coming crime writers, each story based on a song from one of the twenty-nine studio albums Jimmy has released over the last half century, from Leigh Lundin’s take on “Truckstop Salvation” (which appeared on Jimmy’s first LP, 1970’s Down to Earth) to M.E. Browning’s interpretation of “Einstein Was a Surfer” (from 2013’s Songs from St. Somewhere).
If you love Jimmy’s music or crime fiction or both, you’ll love The Great Filling Station Holdup. Mix yourself a boat drink, ask Alexa to put on a buffet of Buffett tunes, kick back, and enjoy!
Table of Contents
Introduction by Josh Pachter
Down to Earth (1970)
“Truckstop Salvation” by Leigh Lundin
A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean (1973)
“The Great Filling Station Holdup” by Josh Pachter
“A Pirate Looks at Forty” by Rick Ollerman
Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes (1977)
“Tampico Trauma” by Michael Bracken
Son of a Son of a Sailor (1978)
“Cheeseburger in Paradise” by Don Bruns
“Volcano” by Alison McMahan
Coconut Telegraph (1981)
“Incommunicado” by Bruce Robert Coffin
Somewhere Over China (1981)
“If I Could Just Get It On Paper” by Lissa Marie Redmond
One Particular Harbour (1983)
“We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About” by Elaine Viets
Riddles in the Sand (1984)
“Who’s the Blonde Stranger?” by Robert J. Randisi
Last Mango in Paris (1985)
“Everybody’s on the Run” by Laura Oles
Hot Water (1988)
“Smart Woman (in a Real Short Skirt)” by Isabella Maldonado
Off to See the Lizard (1989)
“The Pascagoula Run” by Jeffery Hess
Don’t Stop the Carnival (1998)
“Public Relations” by Neil Plakcy
Beach House on the Moon (1999)
“Spending Money” by John M. Floyd
Songs From St. Somewhere (2013)
“Einstein Was a Surfer” by M.E. Browning