I'm almost afraid to put Keith Rawson's little piece of voyeurism, 60+, as the first of today's recommendations. You may read it and decide you'd rather seek out Rawson's entire oeuvre rather than come back and check out the rest of this week's recommendations. I'll have to take the chance though, because you must read 60+. Slick, sick, and very appealing to my twisted sense of humor. Rawson displays a hitherto unknown (by me anyway) gift for action scenes. Thanks to A Twist of Noir for publishing this one.
As long as you're visiting A Twist of Noir, take note of two recent additions to the site: Stephen Book's debut, a very short tale about the aftermath of a stick-up, The Medicine Woman; and Chris Benton's dysfunctional-family drama, My Darlin'.
Stepping away from the online world, I just finished reading James Lee Burke's wrenching short story, The Mist, about a drug addict/prostitute whose husband was killed in Iraq shortly before she herself became one of the Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Burke is peerless when it comes to evoking the reader's five senses, but what is miraculous is that he never judges his characters. You'll find this small gem of a story in Burke's 2007 collection, Jesus Out to Sea.
In print also, is Kyle Minor's brilliant novella, A Day Meant to Do Less, a tale about a man who must bathe his helpless mother. Seeing this event through the eyes of both characters, the story burrows into childhood nightmares and makes them live again. Perhaps because the fears and concerns of seniors are so close to my heart right now, this one touched a special chord in me. Or perhaps it was just great writing. This story can be found in The Best American Mystery Stories 2008. And in case you missed it last year, you can read Minor's Spinetingler-nominated short story, They Take You in the Summer, 2008, issue of Plots With Guns.
January 12, 2010
Short stops #4
My mom, who will turn 80 this July, wanted to know if elderly people ever show up in the kinds of stories I like to read. Oh, yeah, they surely do. All of the following stories, except the James Lee Burke story, have a senior citizen in an important role. And I'm telling you, elderly doesn't mean helpless.