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

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  • 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: “The Larcenists” by Kieran Shea

 

 

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  • Introduced by Scott M.

In this May’s Beat To A Pulp short story “The Larcenists” Kieran Shea shows how you can use just dialogue to propel a story. He also may make you think twice about who is at your local Starbucks.


“The Larcenists” by Kieran Shea

“Man, marketing promotions. A dollar for any tall coffee? I’ll bite. What? No java for you, Jack?

It’s a little late in the day for me, Eddie.

Trouble sleeping, huh? I guess that happens to guys our age. Hell, coffee is one of the few drugs I still get to enjoy.

Have a seat, man.

I need to be serious here, Eddie. I’ve got a client meeting at three so I’d like to say my peace and then head on out for that, all right?

Sure, sure … totally. So, um, what’s on your mind?

Well, it’s been almost a year, Eddie.

Read the rest of the story.

Crime Fiction Friday: “Nature of the Beast” by Paul D. Marks

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  • Introduced by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

The latest piece of fiction to be posted on Beat To A Pulp, “Nature of the Beast” by Paul D. Marks, is the story of an LA hitman whose latest assignment makes him rethink his career. It uses the city well and is hardboiled as hell.


“Nature of the Beast” by Paul D. Marks

Jack Lake was a mother—ing SOB. He knew it. He didn’t give a –. And unlike the hitmen with the hearts of gold he laughed at in the movies—hitmen who took pity on their marks and even saved their asses—he didn’t give a — about the marks, or little kids whose parents were marks. Hell, he wouldn’t have given a — if the little kids were his marks. And — collateral damage, if there was any—but he was good enough that there wasn’t. It’s an ugly, sick world. A job’s a job. And he was good at what he did.

Read the rest of the story, complete with curse words.

Crime Fiction Friday: “Fundamental Breach” by William E. Wallace

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You can always count on crime fiction website Beat To A Pulp to deliver a great tale each month. For December, it’s this hard-boiled noir: “Fundamental Breach” takes the story of a man hiring a killer to off his wife and spins it on its head several times.

-Scott Montgomery

“Fundamental Breach” by William E. Wallace

“How will I know you’ve actually done it?” Ted Kilburn asked when he realized they had never discussed the practical aspects of the job.

Bob Timmons, the man Kilburn had hired, took a swig from his Budweiser long neck. “I’ll bring you a trophy.”

“What do you mean?” Kilburn said with a frown.

Timmons smiled. “How about Diana’s ring finger with the wedding band still on it?” he finally said.

The color drained from Kilburn’s face. He looked like he might throw up.

Read the rest of the story.

Crime Fiction Friday: STRAY BULLETS by Jerry Bloomfield

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Last month’s Beat To A Pulp story, “Stray Bullets” by Jerry Bloomfield, sparked discussion among quite a few authors, who also made sure to share the story online. In a very concise way Bloomfield shows the build up of pain that can cause vengeance. Let’s hope this is the first step in a long journey of work from this new author.

“Stray Bullets” by Jerry Bloomfield

“Just a stray bullet they said. One of them things. Freak accident. Some hunter took a shot at a deer, bullet went over a hill and bam. Ended his world. And the cops not doing a goddamned thing about it. A five-year-old boy, smart as a f***ing whip, dead and all he gets is a, We’re sorry about your loss.

Shit. He weren’t no goddamned idiot. He knew what the deal was. Juanita, that worked up there in the county clerk’s office, she done told him who the shooter was. And because it was the judge executive’s boy, nothing would be done. The boy was a football star, here where sports was king, and a straight ‘A’ student. Why ruin his life, his future, not to mention his daddy’s shot at being state senator? Over some piece of trailer trash? They f***ing breed like rabbits anyhow. Pop out another soon enough. Oh, yeah. He knows what they say, up there at the police station and over in the sheriff’s office. State police, mayor, game warden, all them f***ing a**holes.”

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Crime Fiction Friday: AN OPEN DOOR by Chris F. Holm

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Chris F. Holm is one of our favorites. His work has appeared in such publications as Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and The Best American Mystery Stories 2011. He’s been an Anthony Award nominee, a Derringer Award finalist, and a Spinetingler Award winner. He has a wonderful gift for mixing genres like this cross between noir and horror (with a touch of comedy) that recently appeared in Beat to a Pulp.

“An Open Door” by Chris F. Holm

 

“‘… leave …

 

When Simon heard the voice, his mouth went dry, his palms went slick with sweat, and his heart pounded like a drum line in his chest. It wasn’t so much what the voice had said that spooked him, or the menace its throaty whisper conveyed. What spooked him was that it was so clear, it sounded as though it’d spoken directly into the digital recorder in his hand—and yet he hadn’t heard the voice at all until he played it back. Add to that the fact there wasn’t another living soul for miles around—the old Amalgamated Paper mill had been left to rot damn near seventy years ago, and Simon himself had been forced to scale one fence and shimmy through another to even get inside—and that voice seemed downright otherworldly.

 

The thought sent gooseflesh spreading down Simon’s arms, and slapped a dopey smile upon his face. After all, that’s why Simon was here…”

 

Click here to read the full story.

Crime Fiction Friday

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Frank Bill is one of our favorite new voices. His brand of rough and tumble, visceral country crime fiction has a fresh hard boiled style that has landed him respect with the literary set as well as crime fiction fans. His books Crimes In Southern Indiana and Donnybrook have received some great praise. If you haven’t experienced his work, here’s a taste from a story published in Beat To A Pulp earlier this year.

 

“Life of Salvage” by Frank Bill

“Tobar Hicks and Molly Sellers’d led a life fueled by blistered hands of bad luck and the greasy-boned labor of living below the poverty line, scrapping everything from spent trailers, fridges, washing machines and A/C units to barter an existence from salvage yards in and around southern Indiana and northern Kentucky. With the windows down and the 10 a.m. sun bringing the burn of another thick day, sweat bucketed down Tobar’s forehead as he wheeled the ’88 Ford Ranger with four slick treads from Freedom Metals’ tin-sided exit. Chris Knight blared from the CD player singing “Jack Blue.”

The truck coughed, jerked and lost power….”

Read the rest of the story.