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Crime Syndicate Magazine Issue One: A…
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Crime Syndicate Magazine Issue One: A Magazine of Crime Fiction (Volume 1)

by Eric Beetner

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Crime Syndicate Magazine Issue One features eight of the funniest, most engaging, and best crime fiction short stories on the market today, including stories by crime author Eric Beetner (this issue's Guest Editor), Art Taylor, Jeff Bowles, James Queally, Paul Heatley, Nick Kolakowski, Tess Makovesky, and C.J. Edwards.

A man takes his husbandly duties to a whole new, and quite bloody, level in "So Close," by Eric Beetner.

A salesman puts the hard sell on a married couple looking for assurances in the event of the husband's violent demise in "Restoration," by Art Taylor

Criminal enforcer Jack "The Hammer" Palmer has a very public career identity crisis in "Jack The Hammer's Online Identity Crisis," by Jeff Bowles

A poker player tracks down his double-crossing ex-partner for one last game of winner-take-all poker in "On Tilt," by James Queally

A hard-drinking, loser former children's television star needs a miracle to save him from his outstanding debts in "Dee The Friendly Grizzly's Little Miracle," by Nick Kolakowski

A hard-nosed loner exacts revenge on his ex-wife's killer in "God May Forgive You," by Paul Heatley.

A piano-loving husband dishes out a different kind of tune up in "Tuning the Old Joanna," by Tess Makovesky

An honest undercover narcotics agent finds a reason to move on from his current position in "The Line," by C.J. Edwards.

These are not your average mystery stories, they're crime stories, written by some of the best crime authors on the mystery, crime and thriller book scene today!
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My take.....

Another enjoyable collection of short stories accessed through Kindle Unlimited. I've read a couple of these guys before, but it was my first introduction to Art Taylor, C.J. Edwards, Tess Makovesky, Jeff Bowles and James Queally.

I would slightly disagree with the premise that they were the funniest stories around, as there are a couple that were very dark and totally bereft of any humour, not that I'm complaining.

I enjoyed them all. The standouts were for me were Eric Beetner and James Queally. Beetner again stretching the boundaries of believability, but with touches of dark humour that had me buying it. Queally with his poker tale of revenge had my attention throughout. Paul Heatley's God May Forgive You was just what I would expect from him - pitch, black darkness.

A great way of spending a couple of hours in the company of adulterers, card sharks, Russian gangsters, honest cops, a down on his luck ex-children's TV star, an unscrupulous insurance salesman, vengeful ex-lovers and an online hitman suffering from a crisis of confidence.

There's an interesting interview at the end with Eric Beetner which describes his writing career and his (now somewhat dated) plans for the future. There's some hat tips to other authors I ought to be reading, but I've got most of them covered already. I'm a Beetner fan , so I enjoyed the piece as much as any of the stories.

I have issues 2 and 3 of this magazine on the pile which I'm looking forward to. The constant is Michael Pool, teaming up each time with a different guest editor.

I've enjoyed Pool's work before and would have liked to have seen one of his stories in the collection.

Michael Pool has his website here. https://www.michaelpool.net/

His Midnight at the San Franciscan featured on the blog here.
http://col2910.blogspot.se/2017/09/michael-pool-midnight-at-san-franciscan.html

4 from 5

Read in December, 2017
Published - 2015
Page count - 116
Source - Kindle Unlimited
Format - Kindle

http://col2910.blogspot.se/2017/12/michael-pool-and-eric-beetner-co-ed.html ( )
  col2910 | Dec 18, 2017 |
Hard-hitting yet big-hearted, this new series of crime fiction kicks off with a collection of hardboiled tales of corruption, adultery, payback, intrigue and outrage. This issue’s editor is Eric Beetner who is big on contemporary neo-noir, on cynical protagonists and gritty, witty, bitter-sweet storylines. He’s the master of the triple-switch plot-twist so it’s no surprise that his own story – which kicks off this compilation – is simply stuffed full of surprises. Beetner’s skill is in enhancing the action with the moral ambiguity of his characters; delicately demonstrating how easily some humans can shed their skins when it suits them.

The other seven stories are, in the main, similarly sophisticated. You can read them as uncompromising accounts of justified revenge and betrayal, or see past the blood-spatter, baseball bats and bullets to the subtle subtext. Art Taylor does this brilliantly in ‘Restoration’ where he neatly skewers the fear-mongering tactics of insurance industry without so much as bruising a knuckle. The action is similarly cerebral in the entertaining On Tilt by James Queally, where a game of Texas Hold ’Em is played for the highest stakes. Things turn a little lighter in ‘Tuning The Old Joanna’ by Tess Makovesky, while The Line by CJ Edwards is a stylish interpretation of undercover policing, a la The Wire.

Some of these stories are outright violent, explicit both in word and deed, but there was only one instance which felt as if the brutality of the characters was the core of the story. The majority manage to cram complex sub-plots concerning redemption, betrayal and human dignity into their scant number of pages. None are very long, and none out-stay their welcome. An interview with Beetner rounds out the anthology and makes for fascinating reading.

I would’ve preferred there to be a couple more stories in the collection – maybe ten, or even a dozen – because it did feel as if the fun ended just as I was getting into the swing of things. In any case, I’ll definitely be coming back to CSM for second helpings when Issue Two is released…
8/10

There's more detail on this book and other crime fiction over at
https://murdermayhemandmore.wordpress.com/2016/01/02/crime-syndicate-issue-one-pitch-perfect-pulp-fiction/ ( )
  RowenaHoseason | Jun 22, 2016 |
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