We continue celebrating International Crime Fiction Month with short stories chosen from the Akashic website’s Monday’s Are Murder. In “The Yellow Dress” Christopher Miguel takes us to Mexico for an elegant story of memory, romance, and, of course, crime.
We continue our celebration of International Crime Fiction Month with short stories from Akishic’s Mondays Are Murder posts. William J. Jackson, a writer known for depicting the humanity in the world’s trouble spots gives us the celebration of journalists around the world who sacrifice their lives for the truth.
- 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….”
The latest city to get in Akashic’s sights is that tough city by the bay. In Oakland Noir, Jerry Thompson and Eddie Muller have gotten a cadre of authors that reflect the diversity of both the city and the genre. Eddie also contributed a story dealing with one complicated land lady. Both editors were kind enough to do an interview with us.
- Interview by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery
MysteryPeople Scott: What unique quality does Oakland bring to noir?
Jerry Thompson: Oakland is a city with eyes, fingers and a rich memory of events that created some of the most legendary characters in fiction, film.
Eddie Muller: I grew up with an image of Oakland as the most noir city in the world—by which I mean black. African-American. Which was supposed to scare us white folks. After living here for more than 25 years I now see what BS that was, and still is. Sure, scary shit goes on here—but most of it happens inside gangs and on the police force. I’m more wary of City Hall right now than a rough corner of West Oakland.
- Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery
One of the best anthologies from 2016, a year of great anthologies, was Mississippi Noir. The stories included in the collection took a hard, if sometimes romantic, look at the underbelly of the state and many of the people who live on its fringes. Many of the writers included, like Megan Abbott and William Boyle, dig in to the psychology and circumstance behind characters’ emotions.
We caught up with the editor, lauded author Tom Franklin, to talk about putting together this noteworthy anthology, released as part of the Akashic Noir series, wherein each volume focuses on crime stories set in a different unique locale.
MysteryPeople Scott: My guess is that you got half your authors by stopping by Oxford’s City Grocery bar. How close am I and how did you go about gathering the rest?
Tom Franklin: Well, it happens that I know a lot of writers; and a lot of them live in Oxford; and we do love the City Grocery! So your guess is correct. But I also reached out to writers I don’t know personally. I reached out to writers I’d met on the road. I reached out to the big names, John Grisham (didn’t have a story at present), Greg Illes (working on his trilogy), Thomas Harris (no answer). I reached out to a couple of writers who never responded. Also, not wanting to rely only on my own devices, I asked the publisher to help me find contributors. Johnny Temple at Akashic found writers and we used some of their stories. Mississippi is just so chock-full of great writers that, in the end, we had more stories than we would use for the anthology. In the interest of fairness, I send the publisher all the stories we’d got together, gathered, and asked that he choose. And he did. He chose, almost entirely, what I’d have chosen.
- Selected and Introduced by Scott Montgomery
‘New Orleans, Louisiana
Thirty-five minutes before kickoff, my brother Pat got a phone call at the Superdome from his wife Trudy.
Trudy was alone in the back of her antique store on Magazine. Pat walked in, and the bell on the door tinkled.
“What’s the problem?”
Trudy dropped a manila envelope on the counter. “Our daughter, the fucking movie star. No pun intended, and no, you don’t want to see it. Came in this morning’s mail. I want to kill somebody, and I’m not sure who.”’
- Selected and Introduced by Scott Montgomery
‘”Shit on a stick,” Roy said. “It’s her.”
“You’re lyin’!” Forest said. “Not The Dutch Treat, please, Jesus. Anything but that!”
“AKA Spawn of Satan.”
They were at the Gulfport Shaggy’s, about to celebrate a decent haul on a pot deal with a late-morning bloody and there stood The Treat, looking less Dutch than usual, a little more redneck, talking to some senior stoner with ass-length white hair in a sectioned-off ponytail…’