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Bum Deal by Paul Levine

Thanks to publicist Wiley Saichek, I got to read a galley of Paul Levine's final Jake Lassiter novel, on sale June 12 from Thomas and Mercer.

Following last year's Bum Luck, linebacker-turned-lawyer Jake is still suffering from what may be CTE. Because suspected murder victim Sofia Calvert's father is one of D.A. Ray Pincher's financial backers, Pincher recuses himself and asks Jake to prosecute Sofia's likely killer husband, coolly menacing Dr. Clark Calvert.

Defending Dr. Calvert are Lassiter's friends Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord, Lord one of Clark's former flames, much to Steve's dismay.

The plot is tantalizing, topical, and twisty, as I expect from Levine, with the key players pursuing their own agendas. The main draw once again, though, is Jake, valiantly battling his symptoms along with the others' deceptions.

As much as I regret seeing the series end, I applaud Levine's brave choice to have Jake face CTE in the final two books. Well pl…
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The Fairfax Incident by Terrence McCauley

Against all evidence, New York insurance executive Walter Fairfax's widow is convinced her husband did not commit suicide. Mrs. Fairfax hires ex-Marine, ex-cop-turned-P.I. Charlie Doherty to investigate Walter's death. Charlie discovers not only Mr. Fairfax's link to a much wider-ranging, more sinister plot but also the truth about his own benefactor, Harriman Van Dorn.

A follow-up to Terrence McCauley's 2013 novel Slow Burn, The Fairfax Incident is set a year later, 1933. I haven't read the previous novel, but Charlie's world-weary voice and McCauley's eye for detail quickly transported me to the period. And just as Charlie seems a pawn in the larger scheme of the story, I have to admire McCauley's use of The Fairfax Incident to tie Charlie into his University espionage series.

The Fairfax Incident goes on sale June 5.

2018 Derringer Finalist Andrew McAleer

I'm a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, an informal association of writers, publishers, and fans that has kept mystery & crime short stories in the public eye since 1996. On April 15, the Society announced the finalists for its 2018 Derringer Awards. Members are voting to determine the winners, to be announced May 15.

In the meantime, as I did last year, I'm inviting the finalists for interviews.

Andrew McAleer is a finalist with "King's Quarter" in the Best Novelette category, from Down & Out Books anthology Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea, for which he also had an editorial role.

How did you come to edit the two Coast to Coast anthologies? Tell us a bit about the editing process.

One of my favorite legal thriller writers William (“Bill”) G. Tapply, author of the Brady Coyne series, generously contributed a short story to a crime fiction magazine I edited devoted to short mystery stories called Crimestalker Casebook. When B…

2018 Derringer Finalist Paul D. Marks

I'm a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, an informal association of writers, publishers, and fans that has kept mystery & crime short stories in the public eye since 1996. On April 15, the Society announced the finalists for its 2018 Derringer Awards. Members are voting to determine the winners, to be announced May 15.

In the meantime, as I did last year, I'm inviting the finalists for interviews.

Paul D. Marks is a finalist with "Windward" in the Best Novelette category, from Down & Out Books anthology Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea, for which he also had an editorial role. "Windward" has also been included in The Best American Mystery Stories 2018 anthology.

How did you come to edit the two Coast to Coast anthologies? Tell us a bit about the editing process:

Andy and I are on opposite coasts, Boston and L.A., respectively. The interesting thing about the editing process is that, though we’ve known each other for years…

Guest Post: Lawrence Kelter on The Black Car Business, Vol. 1

Thanks to publicist Wiley Saichek, I'm pleased to welcome author and editor Lawrence Kelter, guest-posting about the new Down & Out Books anthology The Black Car Business, Vol. 1. —Gerald So


The "black car" has appeared both conspicuously and inconspicuously throughout the annals of fiction—its presence both mysterious and menacing, its appearance enough to pause your heart.
It’s the sedan just within sight that seems to be mimicking your speed and movements as you walk down the dark deserted street late at night. As the hairs rise on the back of your neck you wonder, Who is behind the wheel and what is the driver’s intent? It’s The Black Car Business and its presence means your life is about to abruptly change. You try to assure yourself there’s nothing wrong, but your pace quickens nonetheless, and soon you’re running, desperate for that narrow sliver between two buildings to slip through, the one too narrow for the black car to pass through.

It’s that car parked …

2018 Derringer Finalist Travis Richardson

I'm a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, an informal association of writers, publishers, and fans that has kept mystery & crime short stories in the public eye since 1996. On April 15, the Society announced the finalists for its 2018 Derringer Awards. Members are voting to determine the winners, to be announced May 15.

In the meantime, as I did last year, I'm inviting the finalists for interviews. If you'd like to participate, email me your answers to the same following questions.

Travis Richardson becomes a thrice-consecutive Derringer finalist with The Flash Fiction Offensive's "Final Testimony" up for the 2018 Best Flash Derringer (Up to 1,000 words).

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

A cop, corrupted by his obsession to catch a serial killer, faces a defense lawyer’s intense cross-examination in court.

What were the most difficult and most enjoyable parts of writing the story?

I enjoyed taking a story that could have been 3,000–5,000 words…

2018 Derringer Finalist Brendan DuBois

I'm a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, an informal association of writers, publishers, and fans that has kept mystery & crime short stories in the public eye since 1996. On April 15, the Society announced the finalists for its 2018 Derringer Awards. Members are voting to determine the winners, to be announced May 15.

In the meantime, as I did last year, I'm inviting the finalists for interviews. If you'd like to participate, email me your answers to the same following questions.

Former newspaper reporter Brendan DuBois is the author of more than 150 short stories and more than 20 novels, including the Lewis Cole series. His Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine story "Flowing Waters", recently announced winner of EQMM's 2017 Readers Award, is up for the 2018 Best Novelette Derringer (8,001–20,000 words).

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

Jessica Pettis is a wounded woman vet suffering from PTSD, and adopts a injured dog to aid in her recover…