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.

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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?”

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Crime Fiction Friday: “The Writer’s End” by Jonathan Woods

Jonathan Woods comes to BookPeople to speak and sign his latest romp, Kiss the Devil Good Night, on Sunday, November 20, at 5 PM. He’ll be joined by Ben Rehder and Lance Hawvermale. Thanks to Jonathan for sending along a crazy crime fiction Friday to get us all psyched for the event, and thanks to Dahlia for her beautiful, bloody illustrations!


The Writer’s End: A Key West Story

By Jonathan Woods

Illustrated by Dahlia Woods

Sitting on the porch of a white frame house dating from the 19th Century in Old Town Key West, the writer writes. He wears white cotton shorts, his pale linen shirt unbuttoned. With one hand he accidentally brushes back his thinning apricot-colored hair.

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Crime Fiction Friday:”The Black Bird Heist” by Jesse Sublett

Thanks to everyone who came out to Noir at the Bar on Tuesday night and helped make the night something truly special. The following piece, read by Jesse Sublett as the last reading of the night, is a good example of the astounding creativity that has an opportunity to make its way into the world through our MysteryPeople programming. Thanks to Jesse for sharing this original short piece, “The Black Bird Heist,” with us for this week’s Crime Fiction Friday. It stars Austin’s favorite bird – the grackle.

You can find signed copies of Jesse’s latest on our shelves and via Our next Noir at the Bar won’t be till Texas Book Fest weekend – keep an eye on our blog for more details!

Photo shared from KUT Website, Photographer: Nathan Bernier

The Black Bird Heist

by Jesse Sublett

Three birds on a wire

Middle bird says

I’m nervous.


He’s the New Bird.


Bird on the Right says

It’s simple. Stick to the plan

We rush the bank & say

We’re grackles! Nobody move!


Bird on the Left says

Two minutes to go

everybody set?

Right: Locked & loaded.

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Crime Fiction Friday: “A Cool Swim” by Billy Kring


MysteryPeople_cityscape_72 Introduced by Scott Montgomery

We’re happy to have author and security consultant Billy Kring joining us this upcoming Tuesday, July 12th, at 7PM, for our “Using Your Experience for Crime Fiction” panel discussion. He was kind enough to give us this original short story set in the same state as his latest novel: Tonton, Florida.

“A Cool Swim” by Billy Kring

Al The Butcher was in Ft. Lauderdale to pop some loser named Schwartzman. Al liked the Florida gigs, enjoyed fishing, really liked spending time in Lauderdale, even better than Miami, although he missed eating at Wolfie’s before it closed, and Joe’s Stone Crab, and walking along South Beach with the young, hard-bodied models everywhere you looked. Of course, they always looked down their noses at you unless you dressed or acted like some showbiz hotshot.

A lot different than when he first came down here years ago. Back then all you saw were old retirees with brown, wrinkled skin like creased shoe leather, or bodies white as albinos, and constantly whining about one thing or another. What a pain they’d been. Some of them had also been hard to kill, surprising him with their grit and spidery, clinging strength.

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Crime Fiction Friday: SHIMMIE SHE WOBBLE by Tim Bryant

crime scene
Tim Bryant will be joining us for our Lone Star Mystery Writers Panel, Wednesday, the 6th at 7PM, along with Reavis Wortham and Ben Rehder. His latest, Spirit Trap, deals with music, the past, and a unique view of things, much like his tale here.

by Tim Bryant

Lee Ray Murvin, who most people called Sardine, was down on his knees barking like a dog, and Clement Whitaker was still trying to pour more oh be joyful into him, first from a wooden ladle and then from one of Sardine’s own boots, which along with his trousers and work shirt, were strewn across the hardwood floor. Micah Lockwood sat in a corner playing five-card stud with his friend and kettle drum player Henry Compton and trying to ignore Clement’s devilry, but you can only turn your back for so long.

“Let him alone, Clement. He’s had enough.”

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