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About Michael Bracken
Although Michael Bracken is the author of several books—including the hardboiled private eye novel "All White Girls" and the young adult romance "Just in Time for Love"—he is best known as the author of more than 1,300 short stories. He has written in nearly every genre but has been most successful with women's fiction and hardboiled crime fiction, two genres that couldn't be more unalike.
Recipient of the 2016 Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer Award for lifetime achievement in short mystery fiction, Michael is also a two-time recipient of the Derringer Award for his short mystery fiction, with two additional nominations.
Michael is editor of several crime fiction anthologies, including the Anthony Award-nominated The Eyes of Texas: Private Eyes from the Panhandle to the Piney Woods and the three-volume Fedora series, and stories from his anthologies have received or been short-listed for the Anthony, Derringer, Edgar, Macavity, Shamus, and Thriller awards.
He has contributed articles to "The Writer" and other writing publications, contributed a chapter to the writing textbook "Many Genres, One Craft," is one of five authors featured in "Writing Erotica," and is extensively quoted in "The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists." He regularly speaks about writing, editing, and publishing to audiences across the U.S. and Mexico.
Additional information about Michael, including a selected bibliography and his speaking schedule, is available at: www.CrimeFictionWriter.com. He is one of a rotating group of crime fiction writers who blog at SleuthSayers.org.
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Writing short stories takes “Skill. Discipline. Knowledge of the form while not being formulaic,” contends Louise Penny in her introduction. “In a short story there is nowhere to hide. Each must be original, fresh, inspired.” Originality is just what’s in store for readers of the twenty clever, creative selections in The Best American Mystery Stories 2018. There’s no hiding from a Nigerian confidence game, a drug made of dinosaur bones, a bombing at an oil company, a reluctant gunfighter in the Old West, and the many other scams, dangers, and thrills lurking in its suspenseful pages.
The Best American Mystery Stories 2018 includes T. C. Boyle, James Lee Burke, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Charlaine Harris, Andrew Klavan, Martin Limón, Joyce Carol Oates, and others.
In The Great Filling Station Holdup, editor Josh Pachter presents sixteen short crime stories by sixteen popular and up-and-coming crime writers, each story based on a song from one of the twenty-nine studio albums Jimmy has released over the last half century, from Leigh Lundin’s take on “Truckstop Salvation” (which appeared on Jimmy’s first LP, 1970’s Down to Earth) to M.E. Browning’s interpretation of “Einstein Was a Surfer” (from 2013’s Songs from St. Somewhere).
If you love Jimmy’s music or crime fiction or both, you’ll love The Great Filling Station Holdup. Mix yourself a boat drink, ask Alexa to put on a buffet of Buffett tunes, kick back, and enjoy!
Table of Contents
Introduction by Josh Pachter
Down to Earth (1970)
“Truckstop Salvation” by Leigh Lundin
A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean (1973)
“The Great Filling Station Holdup” by Josh Pachter
“A Pirate Looks at Forty” by Rick Ollerman
Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes (1977)
“Tampico Trauma” by Michael Bracken
Son of a Son of a Sailor (1978)
“Cheeseburger in Paradise” by Don Bruns
“Volcano” by Alison McMahan
Coconut Telegraph (1981)
“Incommunicado” by Bruce Robert Coffin
Somewhere Over China (1981)
“If I Could Just Get It On Paper” by Lissa Marie Redmond
One Particular Harbour (1983)
“We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About” by Elaine Viets
Riddles in the Sand (1984)
“Who’s the Blonde Stranger?” by Robert J. Randisi
Last Mango in Paris (1985)
“Everybody’s on the Run” by Laura Oles
Hot Water (1988)
“Smart Woman (in a Real Short Skirt)” by Isabella Maldonado
Off to See the Lizard (1989)
“The Pascagoula Run” by Jeffery Hess
Don’t Stop the Carnival (1998)
“Public Relations” by Neil Plakcy
Beach House on the Moon (1999)
“Spending Money” by John M. Floyd
Songs From St. Somewhere (2013)
“Einstein Was a Surfer” by M.E. Browning
Your New Favorite Book of Mysteries
If you are a fan of The Best American Mystery Stories series, you’ll love The Book of Extraordinary Historical Mystery Stories.
Some of the Best New Mysteries: The Book of Extraordinary Historical Mystery Stories features outstanding new stories of crime, dering do, fast-paced adventures and puzzles set in the past, ranging widely over the centuries and offering a cornucopia of mysteries, dark deeds, investigations and a fascinating array of investigators both professional and amateur.
Never-Before-Seen Stories from Your Favorite Mystery Authors: Collected by one of the genre's eminent editors, Maxim Jakubowski, whose many anthologies like The Mammoth Book of the Adventures of Professor Moriarty have attracted attention and awards, The Book of Extraordinary Historical Mystery Stories features never before seen stories by some of the most renowned American and British crime and thriller authors of today, and includes Linda Stratmann, Amy Myers, Lavie Tidhar, Jane Finnis, O'Neil de Noux, Ashley Lister, Eric Brown, Kate Ellis, A.K. Benedict and many others.
TRIP UP ON HIGH STREET, by John Hegenberger
ST. KILLIAN’S CHOICE, by M.A. Monnin
YOU LOSE, WE FIND, by Jon Matthew Farber
THE BIG PICTURE, by John M. Floyd
AN ARTIST IN THE HAREM, by Elizabeth Zelvin
PLANTED IN MIDAIR, by D.V. Bennett
AN INCONVENIENT SLEUTH, by Barb Goffman
JUST ANOTHER BUM, by Donald Barr Chidsey
William Kent Krueger (Ordinary Grace, the Cork O’Connor series) brings us a story of romance and grift. Bill Pronzini (the Nameless Detective and Carpenter & Quincannon series) offers a taut episode of a midnight raid. Joe R. Lansdale (The Bottoms, the Hap and Leonard series) tells a tale of two hit men working through their differences. James Sallis (Drive, the Lew Griffin series) shows us how a deadly figure once helped out a man called Bill. Charlaine Harris (the Sookie Stackhouse and Midnight, Texas series) reminds us to be careful of what we wish for. Sara Paretsky (the V.I. Warshawski series) shows how truly deadly a terrible storm can be.
These and fourteen more stories are offered here in the appreciation of our friend and colleague, Bill Crider. These stories were written for him.
Some of the Latest and Best from the Whodunnit Genre
“...simply the best short mystery and crime fiction of the year and a real treat for crime-fiction fans.” ―Leonard Carpenter, author of the Conan the Barbarian books and Lusitania Lost
The Book of Extraordinary Impossible Crimes and Puzzling Deaths is the latest collection from legendary murder mystery editor and writer Maxim Jakubowski. Filled with impossible murders and puzzling plot twists that keep your eyes on the page and brain on the mysteries until the last page.
Clever fictional crime stories. Some of mystery fiction's most inventive talents from the USA and UK offer a series of brand-new ingenious murder stories that will have you scratching your brow until the very last minute and delighting in Machiavellian solutions. Enjoy the third volume in Mango's innovative collections of the best crime stories fiction has to offer.
Enigmas and puzzling plot twists. Crime mystery fiction can be full of impenetrable conundrums and endless question marks when the story itself becomes a reality-defying puzzle for the sleuth to solve. A murder has been committed but how could it have happened? Was the room locked from the inside? Why does the body show no sign of violence? Where is the murder weapon?
Fresh innovative murder stories. Maxim Jakubowski’s latest book features never before seen stories by some of the most renowned American and British crime and thriller authors of today, including British Science Fiction Award winner Eric Brown, Derringer Award winner O'Neil de Noux, and multiple CWA Dagger Award winners and nominees.
A fan of Maxim Jakubowski’s The Book of Extraordinary Historical Mystery Stories and The Book of Extraordinary Amateur Sleuth and Private Eye Stories? Reader of books such as Best American Mystery Stories 2018, Her Body and Other Parties, or The Big Book of Female Detectives? A movie goer who liked Clue or Knives Out? Jakubowski’s latest book is for you.
SEVEN CARD JOKER HIGH, by Trey R. Barker
THE LOSER, by Robert Guffey
BLEST BE THE TIE THAT BINDS, by Michael Bracken
THE MAGNIFICENT SCORE, by John Hegenberger
WORSE THAN DEATH, by Robert Lopresti
THE LAST THING HE REMEMBERED, by Patricia Dusenbury
PAINT THE CLOWN RED, by Laird Long
THE CONTAGIOUS KILLER, by Bryce Walton
The stories we feature in our monthly issues span every imaginable subgenre, including cozy, police procedural, noir, whodunit, supernatural, hardboiled, humor, and historical mysteries. Evocative writing and a compelling story are the only certainty.
Get ready to be surprised, challenged, and entertained--whether you enjoy the style of the Golden Age of mystery (e.g., Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle), the glorious pulp digests of the early twentieth century (e.g., Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler), or contemporary masters of mystery.
In this issue:
In our cover feature, “The Cost Of Living” by Saul Golubcow, it's 1972 and Frank Wolf, a Holocaust survivor and private eye, along with his grandson, investigate the murder of a Brooklyn butcher.A convicted drunk driver celebrates the end of his forced sobriety by hiring an unusual driving service, “Handr” by Gerard J Waggett.
“The Big Thaw” by Michael Compton: when an Inuit man must accompany his disabled father on his yearly trip out to sea, the quixotic quest becomes a confrontation with dark secrets from the past.
“Fool Me Once” by Edward Lodi presents a Riddle: When is a door not a door? Answer: When it’s ajar. In his checkered career private eye Tony Atti has committed his share of blunders, but entering a house with its door ajar might prove his last.
In “A Crummy Way To Die” by Stephanie Bedwell-Grime an undertaker turns up dead in his own funeral parlor. Can he help a young detective solve the mystery of his untimely demise?
“Sometimes Trigger” by Paul Tobin is the story of a dog, and of the lengths even men in society's underbelly will go to preserve their own sense of honor in the world, as skewed as both might be.
“Slice Of Life” by John Joseph Ryan warns you to be wary of Lucy One-Way, who fears anything left-handed: she even avoids making left turns. At Furr's Cafeteria, where she works the line, she keeps her phobia controlled—until a tour bus full of hungry New Orleans Saints fans overwhelms the buffet.
“The Damn Rodents Are Everywhere” by Kevin R. Tipple asks, “Have you ever wanted to kill somebody? I have. I did. It was glorious. My problem was the damn body went missing. Yep, the damn thing up and vanished.”
“Double Dipping” by Michael Bracken: when Lightfinger Louie Levoy accidentally lifts the wallet of a homicide detective near the scene of a murder, he puts his life in danger.
“Ants, Plants And Romance” is a You-Solve-It mystery by Jeffrey A. Lockwood: when a diamond necklace is stolen at a rustic, luxury resort, the obvious suspects are the maid and maintenance man. But the local plants and ants turn out to be serendipitous, silent snitches for a savvy sheriff.
Custom Cover Art by Robin Grenville Evans.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin have been widely flattered almost from the moment Rex Stout first wrote about them in 1934. The Misadventures of Nero Wolfe collects two dozen literary tributes to one of crime fiction’s best-loved private detectives and his Man Friday. Included are:
- A 1947 pastiche by award-winning crime writer Thomas Narcejac
- Rollicking new stories written especially for this collection by Michael Bracken and Robert Lopresti
- Stories by bestselling authors including Lawrence Block and Loren D. Estleman
- Chapters from Robert Goldsborough’s authorized continuation of the Wolfe series; Marion Mainwaring’s 1955 tour de force Murder in Pastiche; and John Lescroart’s Rasputin’s Revenge, which reimagines a young Wolfe as the son of Sherlock Holmes
Suburbia, by Michael Bracken
The Sorority House, by Eve Fisher
Tourist Season, by JM Taylor
Diversions, by John M. Floyd
The List, by Charlie Drees
Something Certain, by Peter W. J. Hayes
The Moment of Righting, by Robb T. White
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, by Ashley Lynch-Harris
The Target, by Charlie Hughes
Whale Watch, by Charles Roland