The Mesdames of Mayhem’s fourth anthology, published October, 2019, has the theme of music, mayhem and murder. The book contains 18 stories and one satirical poem by established Canadian crime writers and one talented newcomer.
My story, “Brainworm”, explores the dark side of families. The tune, “Le Pont d’Avignon”, is the earworm slowly driving the protagonist mad.
Fiona has been forced to look after her elderly stepmother, a retired French teacher who always despised her. A fight looms between her and her half-brother over the Singer – is it the worthless sewing machine in her late father’s study or something more valuable?
I based this story on a story my running buddy told me. Her father was hiking through Sunnybrook Park in North Toronto when he heard a cry of terror. He tried to find the person in trouble, but he never did. The experience haunted him.
“The Cry” takes place in the large memorial park in Hiroshima, which we visited in 2012.
An elderly assassin, on the cusp of dementia, hears a scream of terror. At the risk of his own life, he tries to save the victim to atone for his life’s business.
The second story, “The Seeker”, is part of The Dame was Trouble, an exciting anthology of noir fiction published by up and coming Coffinhop Press. The book features noir tales with exclusively female protagonists – all by leading Canadian women crime writers.
“The Seeker” is one of my personal favorites. The hero, Terry Snow, is a tough, 62 year old professional woman driver.
On a lonely highway in New Mexico, a young man runs out in front of Terry’s car. He’s on the run and wounded. They hole up in a lonely gas station on the outskirts of Espanola with Moe, the Afghan manager. Only Terry’s gun and Moe’s shotgun stand between them and certain death at the hands of four murderous gangsters.
13 Claws by The Mesdames of Mayhem (Carrick Publishing)
The Mesdames’ third anthology contains 17 twisted tales (ha!ha!) of crime starring our animal friends. Angels or demons? Includes stories by 12 established crime writers as well as three newcomers to the genre.
I indulged my love of noir to create my thriller novelette, “Snake Oil“. Strangely, many readers get freaked by the snakes in this story, even tough noir male authors who don’t bat an eye writing about splatter murders and disembowelments. Go figure. “Snake Oil” is based on an actual experience a friend of a friend (yes, really) when she was a young real estate agent. Unbeknownst to her, the house she was viewing was inhabited by serious reptile fanciers. Definitely an odd subculture, aspects of which appear in the story.
“Snake Oil”, too, a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Best Novella award.
Bella Bates is in desperate financial straights. Making it as a real estate agent is her only way back to her preferred lifestyle. Her son-in-law warned her about weirdos hidden behind closed doors, but so what? She’s tough, she’s got what it takes. Or does she?
Warped tales of time and crime! Fourteen authors contributed to 13 O’clock, the second anthology by the Mesdames of Mayhem (Carrick Publishing).
The book contains my dark suspense novelette, “Glow Grass”, inspired by an unofficial memorial garden we stumbled upon while hiking in the woods. “Glow Grass” was a finalist for the 2016 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novella!
A young woman returns to her derelict family cottage abandoned since her father died in a mysterious accident. Is the secret cemetery in the woods meant for her?
World Enough and Crime (Carrick Publishing)
A collection of stories by some of Canada’s leading crime fiction authors, including the runner-up for the 2015 Arthur Ellis Award.
My cross-over tale, “The Ultimate Mystery“, was a finalist for the prestigious 2015 Derringer Award.
Maria questions why her world forces her and her mother into slavery. At the same time Lucy, who lives alone with her mother on an isolated prairie farm, also begins to question the rigid rules governing her life.
Thirteen by The Mesdames of Mayhem (Carrick Publishing)
Dastardly tales by thirteen of Canada’s leading crime fiction authors. Two stories were nominated for the 2014 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story and one for the 2014 Derringer prize.
My comedy thriller story, “Amdur’s Cat” introduces the hero from my learner novel. I liked Benjamin Amdur too much to leave him in the filing cabinet.
Dr. Amdur, a hard-working civil servant, sees a real lion on his way home from a boozy Christmas party. Or does he? Life isn’t easy. His new boss-from-hell resembles a former Toronto mayor…
It also won the Bony Pete Award in 2012 for Best Short Story.
A desperate mother tries to save her drug-addicted daughter using the death of Mr. Kim, their beloved family cat, as leverage, but she’s way out of her depth in the criminal underworld.