Nostalgia City Mysteries

By Mark S. Bacon

Tag Archives: short stories

New offerings in mystery and suspense

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Louisiana intrigue

River of Secrets: A Wallace Hartman Mystery
Roger Johns
Minotaur Books  304 pages
August 2018
Kindle $14.99    Hardback $27.99

Herbert Marioneaux, a Louisiana state legislator with a reputation for changing his mind on sensitive issues, has been murdered. DNA evidence points directly at Eddie Pitkin, a social justice activist who furthers his causes by using confrontation and social media to make powerful, wealthy people very uncomfortable with their past.

Based on a long, well-documented history of conflict between Marioneaux and Pitkin, many in the court of public opinion are quick to call for Pitkin’s conviction. Wallace Hartman, the homicide detective assigned to the investigation, is also the childhood best friend of Pitkin’s half-brother so, in the eyes of some, her objectivity is in question from the beginning.

Wallace discovers an iffy alibi witness along with evidence of a troubled relationship between Marioneaux and his son that puts a cloud of suspicion over the son. Questions about the source of the DNA evidence begin to surface, Pitkin’s supporters and enemies square off in the street, and what began as an open and shut case becomes murky and politicized, sparking waves of violence across Baton Rouge.

And, at her time of greatest need, the prospect of sabotage from an unknown leaker within the police department forces Wallace to go it alone as she digs deep into the dark heart of the political establishment to untangle a web of old, disturbing secrets.

Roger Johns is the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year (Detective ▪ Mystery Category) for his debut novel, Dark River Rising, which has also been nominated for a Killer Nashville Reader’s Choice Award.  Along with four other crime fiction writers, he co-authors the MurderBooks blog at http://www.murder-books.com.  His website is www.rogerjohnsbooks.com.


Book giveaway

Enter the 10-copy giveaway of River of Secrets on Goodreads at: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36742974-river-of-secrets?from_search=true. The giveaway ends September 3.

 

Spine tinglers for middle schoolers

Scream and Scream Again
Mystery Writers of America
Harper Collins  416 pages
July 2018
Kindle $9.99  Hardback $12.59

A harrowing array of scary stories for middle-grade readers that all have one thing in common: each either begins or ends with a scream!

R.L. Stine, the godfather of Goosebumps, and some of the most popular authors today bring an unrivaled mastery of all things fearsome, frightening, and fantabulous to this terrifying anthology of all-new scary short stories.

Scream and Scream Again! is full of twists and turns, dark corners, and devilish revenge. Collected in conjunction with the Mystery Writers of America, this set includes works from New York Times bestselling authors telling tales of wicked ice-cream trucks, time-travelling heroes, witches and warlocks, and of course, haunted houses.

It includes twenty never-before-published scary stories from some of the most popular authors today—including Alison McMahan’s Kamikaze Iguanas.

Alison McMahan grew up in Spain.As an adult she trudged through the jungles of Honduras and Cambodia, through the favelas of Brazil and from race tracks to drag strips in the U.S. in search of footage for her documentaries. Her most recent film is Bare Hands and Wooden Limbs (2010) narrated by Sam Waterston.

Online book prices vary depending on the day you order and the bookstore or website.
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Today’s mystery flash fiction

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The term flash fiction describes exceedingly short stories.  How short?  That depends on who is defining the term.   Some writers and editors put the length at 1,000 words or more while others say flash fiction is but a handful of words.  I prefer the discipline of telling a complete story in precisely 100 words.  Here’s an example:

 

Investigation Closed

Felix and Cheryl exchanged glances as they walked in their front door to see police officers going through cabinets, closets and drawers.

“Are you the Perkins?” asked a detective.

“Yeah,” Felix said, looking around.

“Please sit over there,” the detective said. The couple sat silently and watched.

An hour later: “We found the heroin shipment,” an officer said.

“How did you know?” Felix asked.

“We didn’t,” the detective said. “My partner wanted to quit earlier, but then we realized you didn’t say anything. Most people who come home to find the police nosing around would ask us what we’re doing.”

Mystery flash fiction

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Who says my crime stories are cynical?  Here’s today’s 100-word story.

 

Live Police Car Chase

“Station to Skycam One. You there, Jerry?”

“Roger that, Pam.”

“Where are you? You’re supposed to be over that police chase on Highway 52.
Someone said they saw you near Valley Hospital. That’s ten miles away.”

“Another car chase? Is that really important?”

“Are ratings important?”

“Hang on a sec…. Don’t touch that.”

“Are you talking to me? Who’s in the chopper with you?”

“No one.”

“Jerry, get your ass over to Highway 52.”

“What? You’re breaking up.”

Jerry glanced at the three kids from the cancer ward.

“It’s wonderful of you to take them up sightseeing,” the nurse said.

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