It’s the end of “one of those weeks,” so I decided that this week’s edition of Stories for Sunday needs to be extra strong. A single shot wouldn’t do, nor would a double. So here it is – a triple shot of noir, three glasses of bleak poetry and macabre humor from three stellar writers: Paul D. Brazill, Gary Dobbs, and Keith Rawson. They’ve all been encouraging supporters of Pulp Serenade from the start, and they truly make the blog world seem like a real community. It’s always a pleasure reading their blog updates and their latest stories.
Line up the shots and get ready. Here are the stories.
1) “Loose Ends” by Gary Dobbs (A Twist of Noir #050). Frankie just stepped into the bar to drown his sorrows in a few (or maybe more than a few) drinks. He didn’t plan on witnessing a murder – or on recognizing one of the hitmen. This story represents the quintessential noir universe: merciless, coldly brutal, and not without an ironic sense of humor that always puts you behind the eight-ball. And none of this is lost on our antihero: reflecting on a fellow bar patron, Frankie thinks to himself, “No doubt he has a story just as I have a story but no one gives a fuck.”
2) “Pervert #16” by Keith Rawson (Powder Burn Flash #159). Talk about the world having a cruel sense of humor…the two teens at the center of Rawson’s story take others’ weaknesses and exploit them to their full advantage. They lure in lurking lechers and give them a surprise they’ll never forget. Rawson’s characters are scarily vibrant, their actions uncomfortably realistic – it’s a marvelously well-crafted story, one that is sure to disturb and fascinate at the same time.
3) “Swamplands” by Paul D. Brazill (Flashshots). Brazill’s flashfiction recalls the dark, twisted humor of Fredric Brown. In only 99 words, Brazill’s deft but evocative prose conjures up a noir nightmare in which the character’s past (literally) won’t let go of him. With the first line we are knocked straight into the noir paradigm: “Elvis awoke in a cold, dank sweat, hungover from bourbon and bad dreams.” Of course, in the world of noir, waking-up is no guarantee the nightmare will end. This is something Elvis must learn the hard way.
Be sure to check back with these authors often. I’m looking forward to reading many more of their stories. And in the case of Gary Dobbs, his first novel is set to come out this summer – The Tarnished Star under his penname of Jack Martin. Click here to order the book.