Daily Short Story Diary - Week 52

December 29, 2019

Day 357 Dec 22, 2019

A MATTER OF PRINCIPAL by Max Allan Collins

A Century of Great Suspense Stories – 2001 (story originally published in 1989, and then expanded upon for the novel The Last Quarry)

Crime – 11 Pages

This Quarry fellow is one rough and tough customer. This story is interesting and fun in that while Quarry is a professional type, he rides on a whim and takes a shot at an easy payday. The situation is obvious quickly, but that doesn’t really harm the reward. Biting. Harsh. Smooth writing.

****

 

Day 358 Dec 23, 2019

ANY OTHER by Jac Jemc

Tiny Crimes – 2018

Crime – 4 Pages

There’s a fun little twist to close out this one after a mystery that’s curious, but ultimately unimportant, and not just to the story. There’s a sale of something and what’s up for sale is a mystery, but it’s obviously not a life, or beating, or anything that matters beyond the buyer, so kind of blah.

***

 

Day 359 Dec 24, 2019

A MOTHER’S BLOOD by Ray Cluley

Probably Monsters – 2015 (story originally published in This Is Horror, 2012)

General – 5 Pages

This one’s a melodramatic play on postpartum depression. Nothing happens. It’s all about how sad this woman is and how sad her carnal urges make her once the deed is done.

**

 

Day 360 Dec 25, 2019

TIME by Stephen Graham Jones

States of Grace – 2014

General – 2 Pages

Yee, Christmas, I guess.

These stories, though teeny, really do have some power. It’s the humanity, I think. Perfect score for this one because it took me back to a specific ride and an exhibitionist type of girl I used to know.

*****

 

 Day 361 Dec 26, 2019

COMPSER by Judy Budnitz

Flying Leap – 1998 (story originally appeared in Story Magazine, 1996)

General – 7 Pages

As with all the other stories in this collection, it’s well written and weird. The edge is a bit dull with this one, however. Not much human about the composer himself, aside that he misses his mother when she’s passed. The finale has a touch of fun to it, but mostly this one’s only okay.

***

 

Day 362 Dec 27, 2019

CIGARETTE GIRL by James M. Cain

A Century of Great Suspense Stories – 2001 (story originally published in Manhunt, 1953)

Crime – 11 Pages

In these old stories, women just about fall for any sort of man who happens upon their vicinity. Dames, helpless against the allure of charms involved in being the protagonist of a story. Happens a bit here. The story has a cool angle, but mostly it moves in a straight line. Not so suspenseful.

***

 

Day 363 Dec 28, 2019

‘TIS THE SEASON by Stephen Graham Jones

States of Grace – 2014

General – 1 Page

I love the fuck up characters in SGJ’s stuff, because they’re so relatable. Little things always going wrong, like in real life when you’re trying to make lemonade from that ancient concentrate bottle at the back of the fridge.

*****

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