Table of Contents

Spring 2009

From The Editor

Letter from Jack Getze

Short Stories

Patrick Whittaker

9:03

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

Interviews

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

TKO

Bookspot Review Roundup

Book Excerpt

The Big O
by Declan Burke

Featured Article

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

Trigger City

“Facts are not truth. Listen carefully. This is important.”
This startling comment opens Sean Chercover’s much-anticipated second novel, Trigger City. It also begins an even more startling first chapter. Joan Richmond, accountant for a department store chain, is shot in the face by a coworker named Steven Zhang. Zhang leaves a signed confession next to Richmond’s body, goes home, and blows his brains out to Abba’s Greatest Hits. A schizophrenic man confesses to murder, leaving behind lots of evidence to back up his claim, then kills himself. Open and shut case.

Except Joan Richmond’s father, retired Army colonel Isaac Richmond, wants to know the truth of his daughter’s death. There’s more to what happened than a coworker going off his meds. Richmond hires journalist-turned-PI Ray Dudgeon for $50,000 and his exclusive services for the next six weeks. In bad need of shoulder surgery and cash, Dudgeon cannot refuse.

He should have, as soon he runs afoul of Hawk River, a private military contractor with deep pockets and a strong interest in Joan Richmond’s case. After all, she used to work for them. Conveniently, Joan was supposed to testify before Congress shortly before her death.

Dudgeon starts out with all the usual allies: ex-gangster and part-time employee Vinnie Cosimo, police Lieutenant Mike Angelo, and former partner in journalism Terry Green. Dudgeon learns Col. Richmond’s interest is more official than personal. By then, however, Angelo and Green have been scared off, and Dudgeon has already killed a man.

Like Big City, Bad Blood, all the ingredients of a clichéd PI story are here: Grudging cop ally, mob-connected sidekick, grieving old man as a client. Like Big City, Bad Blood, they get turned on their ear in Trigger City. Vinnie is going straight, working a crummy case for Dudgeon that amounts to little more than stalking by proxy.

The characters have evolved. Dudgeon is still hurting – physically and emotionally – from the events of BCBD. Meanwhile, he’s still pining for English nurse Jill, his lover from BCBD, having Vinnie shadow her new lover.

Chercover revels in taking a stock plot point and asking, “What would really happen?” Shadowy government types show up, hinting at one of those conspiracies normally reserved for nutjobs and fringe radio hosts, but their consequences are very real. They’re not invincible. They make stupid mistakes, one of which gets an agent killed.

Dudgeon himself kills, and it eats away at him. It sickens him, and he worries others will think him more savage than he is. Worse, he wonders if it might be true.

Sean Chercover has truly solidified his place among modern crime writers without rejecting what has come before. He doesn’t try to top himself. He simply does what he does better.



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