Skip to main content

Trey Dowell, 2020 Derringer Finalist

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. The SMFS's 2020 Derringer Awards voting ends April 29 and winners will be announced in May. In the meantime, I've invited the finalists for interviews.

Trey Dowell
Trey Dowell's December 2019 Close 2 the Bone story "Lucky" is up for Best Flash.

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

Everything a successful criminal needs—stealth, cunning, ambition, intelligence—the Ragazzo brothers lack. Well, almost everything.

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

Most difficult: “Lucky” started out as a draft I wrote for a 48-hour flash fiction contest. I was tasked with writing a crime caper that incorporated a gift shop and a candle. Writing anything on such a tight deadline is a tough-enough task as is, but incorporating disparate genre/location/object prompts takes pressure to whole new level. After the contest, I thought what I’d come up with had a really entertaining core to it, so I spent more time WITHOUT a ticking grandfather clock suspended above my head to write "Lucky” exactly the way I had envisioned the story in my head. The most enjoyable part: a year prior to the contest I’d overheard a conversation between two guys at a gas station that ranked as one of the most ridiculous, moronic, and purely funny moments I’d ever witnessed. I went home to my wife, relayed the conversation to her, and she cracked up hard. Then she said, “You need to write that one down. Save it for a story.” I’m glad I took her advice, because when I needed 100 words to show how two complete idiots could drive their boss to the brink of murder, real life had already given me those 100 perfect words. And it all started with: boneless meatloaf sandwich.

How does it feel to be a Derringer finalist?

Incredible! This is my third time as a finalist and it’s just as wonderful and satisfying an honor as it was the first time, almost eight years ago. Writing is such a solitary pursuit, and I think all of us have thought to ourselves (even after something has been published) “Did anyone read it? Did anyone LIKE it?” Making the finals is just that validation cherry on top of the sundae that makes the dessert a little better. Plus, it was that rare bit of GOOD news during a time when things to celebrate seem a lot more difficult to find. Let’s hope that changes, and soon

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

ROBERT B. PARKER'S SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME by Ace Atkins

Ace Atkins' ninth Spenser continuation novel was originally scheduled to be published November 17, but printing and distribution issues have delayed it to January 12, 2021. Fortunately, Putnam Books ' publicist Nicole Biton sent me an advance ebook to review. Book design by Katy Riegel Mattie Sullivan, introduced as the young client in Atkins' 2012 first Spenser ( Robert B. Parker's Lullaby ), returns as a 22-year-old apprentice, taking the case of 15-year-old Chloe Turner, molested by a much older man at Boston's posh Blackstone gentlemen's club. Mattie's investigation leads to hedge fund billionaire Peter Steiner, his British socialite companion Patricia "Poppy" Palmer, and their perverse, private pleasure island in the Bahamas. Steiner and Palmer are inspired by notorious sex offenders Jeffrey Epstein and his companion Ghislane Maxwell. Atkins has Mattie drive the investigation knowing she would better empathize with the couple's victims

Guest Essay by Paul D. Marks

On May 31, Down & Out Books published Shamus Award-winning author Paul D. Marks' latest novel, The Blues Don't Care . I've invited Paul to contribute the following essay: Time Tripping Back to the 1940s by Paul D. Marks I have a fascination for the 1940s. And, even though it’s before my time sometimes I think I must have been reincarnated from that era. There are several reasons. I like swing music. I like old black-and-white movies, especially film noir from the mid and later ’40s. The clothes are so cool, even men’s clothes, at least in the movies, trenchcoats and fedoras. Though here in Los Angeles I’m not sure how many men wore trenchcoats. But they did wear hats. In The Blues Don’t Care , my mystery-thriller set in the 1940s on the Los Angeles home front during World War II, Bobby Saxon is a young man with two major goals in life. One of them is to get a gig playing piano with the house band at the famous Club Alabam on Central Avenue. If he gets the gig, he

Richard Hawke

Sunday, August 26, 2007 Participants Tim Cockey (writing as Richard Hawke) Gerald So Brian Thornton