Table of Contents

Spring 2009

From The Editor

Letter from Jack Getze

Short Stories

Patrick Whittaker


Anthony Rainone

Fall to Pieces

Phil Beloin

Late, After Dinner

Jake Nantz

Midnight on the Links

Stephen D. Rogers

Queen Anne's Lace

Mike Sheeter

Blue Fugazzi

David Moss

The Sleepy Pines Nursing Home

Fiona Kay Crawford

Successful Surgeon

Graham Powell

The Ins and Outs

John Towler

The Fall

Damien Seaman

Thursday Night Blowout

Matthew Acheson

Writing on the Wall


Sandra Ruttan with Russel D. McLean

Declan Burke with Brian McGilloway

Jim Napier with Phyllis Smallman

Brian Lindenmuth with Craig McDonald

Reviews by:

P.A. Brown

Mexican Heat

Gloria Feit

Friend of the Devil

Theodore Feit

Death Was in the Picture

A Beautiful Place to Die

Night and Day

Claire McManus

The Hanged Man

The Poisoner of Ptah

My Sister, My Love

The Cruelest Month

Jim Winter

Trigger City

The Fourth Victim


Bookspot Review Roundup

Book Excerpt

The Big O
by Declan Burke

Featured Article

Passing of the Torch - Celebrated crime novelist dies
by Jim Napier

The Fourth Victim

Ex-cop turned oil delivery man Joe Serpe is back in Tony Spinosa’s follow-up to 2006’s Hose Monkey. The man who ended Serpe’s police career, retired Internal Affairs Detective Bob Healy now Serpe’s partner, having bought out Serpe’s employer.

But it’s a bad time to be an oil man on Long Island. Four drivers have been killed making night deliveries. One of them is another former cop, Rusty Monaco. But Monaco’s days of smelling like Number 2 diesel are numbered. He’s got plans. He’s ditching Long Island for a condo in Florida. Not only will he be done delivering heating oil to “Canadians” (an racist term for blacks), but he’ll have left his dark past as a cop behind.

A bullet ends Monaco’s plans before the first chapter ends, making him the titular fourth victim. For the killer, it’s a horrible mistake. Monaco may have overstepped the thin blue line, but he did save Serpe’s life on the job. Serpe feels he owes him. Healy doesn’t argue, despite his own battles with Monaco on the NYPD. It’s not just a debt. The killings threaten their business.

At first, when a fifth driver dies, it appears that a pair of bikers are killing them to fund a drug deal. When the murder turns out to be a copycat, Serpe and Healy find themselves digging into their own pasts on the force to find out why Monaco’s files have been locked. They butt heads with the Reverend James Burgess (who suspiciously looks like Al Sharpton) over the questionable death of a young boy in a Brooklyn housing project.

But if you know Tony Spinosa is really Reed Farrel Coleman, then you know even the resolution to this plotline is not necessarily the resolution to the original crime. It wouldn’t be a Spinosa/Coleman novel without one last bomb to be dropped. And it becomes one of Spinosa’s best efforts at characterization, leaving you rooting for antagonist Hoskins.

Though Serpe dominates the story, it’s really about Bob Healy this time. Like Serpe, Healy is still dealing with the scars of loss. Serpe has learned to accept loss and move on by now. Healy is just figuring that out. Moreover, Hoskins begins the story as the stock hostile cop and slowly evolves a human side by the end. He’s just as dark as he was in the beginning, but you know why.

The Forever Girl is available now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble