Crime Fiction Friday: A Knife Fight On Christmas Avenue

A Knife Fight On Christmas Avenue by John Weagley

We went to our pals at Shotgun Honey for a tight, hard boiled holiday tale and found this gem from the slushy, grey street gutter that proves even knife wielding scumbags can find the spirit of the season.



Crime Fiction Friday: FANCY FOOTWORK by Robert Dean

  • Selected and introduced by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

One of the great things about hard boiled crime fiction is it’s visceral appeal. I recently met an author from our home base in Austin, who goes by the name Robert Dean, who has that down. In this take on the boxing crime story, Dean delivers a few fresh takes and a lot of brutality. If you’re a fan of Frank Bill or Benjamin Whitmer, you will like Robert Dean and if the first paragraph of this story is too much, the rest of it will kill you.


Fancy Footwork

By Robert Dean

A fist the size of a phonebook crashed into Jimenez’s mouth like driver spinning on a DUI. He felt the sting of the knuckles moving past the lips, through the canines and headed straight for his molars. Canines rocked loose in their sockets while blood pooled where the rips of flesh barely held the teeth in place. Goddamn, did this son of a bitch have a punch.

Despite having a skull like a bag of concrete, the strikes Jimenez endured felt like a whole new agony. Defenseless, he sat with his arms tied to the back of a metal folding chair.

Chuckie May, Anton DeRulo’s goon was hard at work beating the ever-loving fuck out of him. Chuckie struck Jimenez like he was living out a fantasy, taking shot after shot, but also turning the event into a strange sexual exploitation as he threw fists into the meat of Jimenez’s core.

Read More »

Crime Fiction Friday: “The Story Daddy Never Know” by Elisha Efua Bartels



  • Selected and Introduced by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

In honor of International Crime Fiction month, we’re sharing some of our favorite pieces from Akashic Books’ Mondays are Murder series. Each story is shaped by its unique setting. Our last Friday to feature Akashic’s Mondays Are Murder ends with a trip to Trinidad courtesy of Elisha Efua Bartels. She uses an interesting cadence and meter for a story with one dark ending.

“The Story Daddy Never Know” by Elisha Efua Bartels

“What sweet in goat mouth does sour in he bambam . . . her mother’s words seem an echo but come from inside, making the chorus of a song (something she cyah remember doing since reaching double-digits) with verses of mondayjanuarysixthtwentyfourteen and eighteenthbirthdayfirstdayofmylife—sometimes she hearing first-day, sometimes last, but mostly first; annoying, even so. She turn and snap, “shut up, ma!” more to break the singsongy internal refrain than for lack of comprehending the futility of her words.”

Read the rest of the story.

Crime Fiction Friday: “Lena” by Preston Lang



  • Selected and Introduced by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

With it being International Crime Fiction Month, we will be offering some selections from Akashic Press’ Mondays Are Murder blog series. The series challenges authors to write a short crime story under 750 words with a distinct setting. First we stop off at Heathrow Airport with Preston Lang’s tale of con artist correspondence.

“Lena” by Preston Lang

My dear. My sweetest intimate. I long to be with you. We will touch with a profound fondness. You are the house of my soul. I count on you to send the funds so that we may be together—85,000 United States Dollars….”

Read the rest of the story.

Crime Fiction Friday: “I Love A Sunburnt Country” by Kieran Shea


  • Selected and Introduced by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

For Kerian Shea, setting affects everything in a story. His latest novel is a caper novel in space, Off Rock, and he was this month’s Pulp of the Month short story winner on the site Beat To A Pulp with this tale of crime in the dirty down under.

I Love A Sunburnt Country” by Kieran Shea

“Standing on the porch of a vacant one-bedroom weatherboard, Nicky watches Pig rinse dark, orange earth from his hands.

“So, it’s shoulder-deep, then?”

Hunched over, Pig half hears Nicky’s question. He decides it’s not worth it to turn around and keeps washing his massive hands in the stream of water pissing from a plastic cistern set on iron stilts.”

Read the rest of the story.

Crime Fiction Friday: “Socket To Me” by Glenn Gray


  • Selected and Introduced by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

Glenn Gray’s short stories are like bloody car wrecks – gross, but we’re compelled to watch. In this piece published in Shotgun Honey, he gets started with an innovative method of drug smuggling and things get darker from there.

“Socket To Me” by Glenn Gray

“Selma dug into her right orbit, using her curved index finger as a tool, and popped her right eyeball out of its socket.”

Read the rest of the story.

Crime Fiction Friday: “The Hanging Judge” by Billy Kring

This week’s Crime Fiction Friday is an original from MysteryPeople favorite Billy Kring. We hope you’ll enjoy the sly humor and fast-paced action of “The Hanging Judge,” all set here in this fair city. You can find copies of Kring’s crime novels on our shelves and via


The Hanging Judge

By Billy Kring

The bats under Austin’s South Congress Street Bridge swirled upward in a brown-furred,  leather-winged cyclone because of the body hanging in their nesting area.

Below the bridge six kayakers floated on Town Lake. They displayed signs saying, No Hanging Around This Area, and Pretty Fly For A White Guy, and John Holmes Wishes He Was This Hung, upholding the unofficial city motto: Keep Austin Weird. One kayak with an albino couple dressed in black turtlenecks and white Andy Warhol hair shouted an angry mantra of, “Bats have rights, too!”

Homicide Detective Joe Hardin stooped under the yellow tape, went to the edge of the bridge, and leaned over the rail into the vortex of winged mammals as he studied the rope from the knot on the bridge rail to the suited body dangling below. He snapped photos with his iPhone as bats shot toward his head like small brown jets.  

Walkers and cyclists on the bridge approached the scene until a look from Hardin nudged them on down the road. A shirtless jogger with a P90X body and major attitude bent low to come under the crime scene tape. Joe opened his jacket to show the shield on his belt, “This is a crime scene, Ace.”  He glanced beyond the man and saw his Homicide partner, Detective David Ornelas walking to the scene.

P90X thought about pushing it, then looked in Joe’s eyes.  He shot Joe the finger as he trotted away saying, “This is America, not Nazi Germany!”

David ducked under the tape and said as he passed the angry man, “Don’t get your lederhosen in a bunch.”

Joe said, “Glad you could make it.”  

“Got any gum this morning?” Joe gave him the flat pack of Eclipse gum he habitually carried. “Who do we have?”

“Judge Matthew Rodgers.”  

“Maximum Matt?”


David thumb-pushed three pieces of gum out of their pockets and returned the pack to Joe. One piece of gum remained.  

“Why didn’t you just take all of them?”

David waved his hand in front of his mouth as if moving away dragon breath, “Lethal halitosis this morning. I’m saving your life here.” David looked over the edge. “Who called it in?”

Read More »