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I read a lot. And this is not something I would have picked for myself. I mean; what is "crime fiction inspired by country music" anyway? I don't particularly care for country music, and I'm more of a sci-fi fan. And WTF is going on with the cover? Is this a textbook from the 70's? I would have scrolled right on by this ebook and not given it a second thought. The only reason I bought this book is because there's a Michael Bunker short story in here, and he's one of my favourite authors. I figured I'd give it a try. And I'm super glad I did. Mr Bunker has created a tale about time travel that captured my imagination. Not since I read Orson Scott Card's 'Lost Boys' has a story stirred a sense of intrigue and left me with an "ohhhh" at the end like this did. And like Card's 'Lost Boys' started out as a short story, I would love to see Bunker's story expanded to a full length novel. Mr Bunker's story was worth every cent of the cost of the book alone. The rest of the shorts in the anthology are like freebies, 'Just Along for the Ride.'
This is one great collection of country Noir stories. James Tuck did a fantastic job editing this book. It is full of fantastic authors, and the stories exceed expectation. I would highly recommend this to anyone that likes crime and/or Noir fiction.
Reviewed in the United States on November 26, 2017
Joe Lansdale prefaced one of his most famous horror stories with a note that is was "a story that does not flinch."
Although Lansdale is not in this anthology, I think that concept and spirit permeate this anthology. These stories do not flinch. They dig into criminal worlds, telling taut stories that kept me engaged throughout.
As you can see from the cover, each story here is inspired by a classic "outlaw country" song - whether by title alone or riffing on the lyrics as well. The tales run the gamut from law enforcement point-of-view to criminal p.o.v. Criminals within criminals, good cops who might use questionable methods, meth biker gangs, alpaca farms, dog fights, booze running, war veterans, jobs and drug deals gone wrong, lovers who are no good for one another - they're all here. One of the anthology's strongest points is its variety.
These nineteen tales of inspired outlawry are well worth the read, especially if you enjoy crime fiction and/or outlaw country.
A great concept for a collection of crime stories is met head-on by a talented group of writers up to the task. With inspiration like this the stories really write themselves, but everyone here expands on the titles and really creates some exciting and unexpected crime fiction. One of the best short story collections to come along in a while.