Monday, April 28, 2014

Roadkill Review: The Axeman of Storyville by Heath Lowrance

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The Year is 1921 and Gideon Miles has left the badlands of Wyoming for a new life in New Orleans. The retired US Marshall is now running a swinging nightclub in the heart of the city, where the jazz is always hot and the beer served ice cold. Miles may be on the wrong side of sixty, but when the town’s prostitutes are targeted by a vicious axe murderer, he once again finds himself on the trail of killer.

Heath Lowrance is the man in charge of Edward A. Grainger’s character in this taught and exciting thriller. His evocative rendering of The Big Easy in the roaring twenties provides a wonderful backdrop to the grizzly murders being investigated by Miles.
Many will be familiar with the real life and still unsolved axe murders that took place in New Orleans during 1918. Lowrence has taken these events and skillfully woven his fictional narrative around them. The end result is a tightly written novella, which is never found wanting for either pace or plot. Highly Recommended.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Big Adios Submission and Release Schedule

Just in case you missed it, here's a quick update on TBA.

The editors of The Big Adios would like to thank everyone for a successful submission cycle. Our first cycle concluded yesterday, April 14th. A lot of good stories that should fill our first two issues. We do apologize for delays in responding to submissions, but we don’t want to make any quick decisions and we will be reviewing the final stories over the next couple weeks with final decisions by May 1st.
You guys have made it hard to decide. Because this is our first magazine release, balancing production and standards we have decided to delay the release of issue 1 until September 8th, with the second issue falling in the first/second week of December. We want to make this just right for our readers and our contributors.
Thank you for your support and good luck to those eying final selections.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Roadkill Review: A Single Shot by Matthew F. Jones

When hunter, John Moon accidentally shoots a runaway girl while poaching deer on state land he has to make a choice. His dilemma is made worse by the drugs and cash he finds hidden at her campground. Whatever he decides, the consequences will be something he can neither predict nor control.  

A Single Shot is a taught thriller that drags you along in the emotional wake of John Moon’s guilt and necessity. Early on the plot put me in mind of Cormac McCarthy’s, No Country For Old Men, but as the story progresses it is soon plain to see that John Moon is more than just a cut and paste rehash of McCarthy’s, Llewlyn Moss. Moon is a man with a strong set of beliefs, he has his own code. But his downward spiral started long before he pulled the trigger and in the best traditions of noir no matter how hard he tries, his subsequent actions only seem to hasten that decent.  
Make no mistake this is a gritty and harrowing novel that deals with some pretty dark subject matter. The narrative is largely well paced and genuinely engaging, but it does suffer from occasional unexplained flat spots, which can leave you feeling a little puzzled, like finding a few feet of smooth blacktop in the middle of a rutted farm track. This minor grumble is more than made up for by Jones’ wonderfully authentic dialogue and his strong sense of place.
I fear that many of those lured in by Daniel Woodrell’s curious and at times almost disparaging introduction will have their resolve sorely tested by the disturbing nature of A Single Shot. The violence and the graphic sexual scenes will no doubt alienate a lot of casual readers.  
While A Single Shot may never be a book that is clutched lovingly to the breast of mainstream country noir, if you are an aficionado of the genre it is a book that you won’t want to miss. I found it to be a well written and thought provoking read.
Thanks to my buddy, Brian Panowich for turning me on to this one.