Crime Factory The First Shift is one of those rare collections of various author short stories where pretty much each story is of really high quality. Usually these collections have one or two great stories, a fair few readable but nothing special tales, and the rest fillers. I was pleasantly surprised with this one, the cover looked pretty home computer software made amateur style, so I didn't expect much and to be honest and only got this because it has a Dave Zeltserman short story I hadn't read before, but I am happy to tell you I was wrong. Midway through and towards the end there are a few lesser quality stories which crop up every now and then but the others are so good the collection maintains its top rating.
Various authors cover a range of different genres covering moral to actual crimes. Twenty eight short stories. Some are set in the modern day, some in the past such as the old West, some are a bit sci-fi such as a thumb sized monkey man who thinks a new boyfriend for his owner is cutting his grass, behind the scenes look at an office worker who returns after being wrongfully fired with a gun, auditioning a getaway driver where if you fail you die, an evil prophet, the floor announcer voice in an elevator telling a guy to commit a crime (this was my favourite), teen drug addicts thinking robbing a greenhouse of a drug dealer is a good idea, a teacher entering his home finds a knife to his throat because he opposes budget cuts to his school and a variety of other crime related topics.
Having loved the First Shift, hopefully there will be a second, third, fourth shift and even more to come in the future. Since the product description page doesn't list the stories, and like me you might buy various author collections just for a particular author and you're wondering what their story is, just in case you've read it before, here are the 28 stories.
Stinger by Dennis Tafoya Two Men and a Car by Andrew Nette Amateurs by Jedidiah Ayres Half-Jack by Roger Smith Glory B by Josh Converse The Decider by Charlie Stella Microprimus Volatitus by Greg Bardsley Lady Killer by Hilary Davidson In the Stretch of Dare by Kieran Shea Prophet Wells and the River of Swine by Nate Flexer The Prevailing Wind by Cameron Ashley Experience Preferred by Patricia Abbott The Method by Chad Eagleton Bedlam by Ken Bruen Of course You Know, This Means War by Jimmy Callaway The Mind Prison by Dave Zeltserman The Ravine by Steve Weddle Through the Shadow of Roosevelt's Nose by Craig McDonald Laughing at the Dead Man by Keith Rawson Shafted by Leigh Redhead 2 984 000 Pounds of Pressure by Anonymous 9 Hearing Voices by Jonathan Woods Juan Hundred Ounces by Liam Jose Budget Cuts by Dave White Green By, by Chris Holm Luz Verder by Frank Bill The Ladder by Adrian McKinty Hundred Proof by Scott Wolven
THE FIRST SHIFT is everything readers of crime fiction could hope for in an anthology: a chance to discover talented new writers as well as enjoy new works from writers whose works they're already familiar with. This is the one to buy for yourself and for anyone you know who loves noir and crime fiction. Once again, New Pulp Press continues to be the alternative to anemic mainstream publishing. Check this one out.