For fans of crime fiction, this is a great time. Several web sites and a handful of magazines offer plenty of opportunity read some top-notch short stories from writers with a wide range of experience. Folks like Patti Abbott and Steve Weddle are leading the charge, offering venues for and information about short crime fiction. Discount Noir is the result of one of those efforts, a challenge issued by Abbott to the loose-knit community of online crime fiction writers and enthusiasts to write an 800-word story that deals with the discount retailer that shall not be named (dubbed Megamart in these stories). One might think that this would be limiting; in fact, the revelation of this collection is the amazing diversity of angles, characters and situations created by the more than two dozen writers involved. The format is great, allowing those with time constraints (or short attention spans) the chance to dip in for a quick story or two and then move on. What started as a fun, perhaps ephemeral exercise has resulted in a permanent collection of solid fiction. Kudos to Abbott, Weddle and the writers involved.
Okay, first things first: Patti Abbott and Steve Weddle are two of the most talented folks working the crime beat today, and anything their names are on (be it this, the Weddle-edited NEEDLE magazine, or the fantastic new BEAT TO A PULP anthology, which features a cracking tale from Ms. Abbott) is an instant purchase for me.
That said, it seems with DISCOUNT NOIR, neither of them were content to coast on their stellar reps. Instead, they put together an astonishing roster of talent, including Anthony-Award-winners Sophie Littlefield and Bill Crider, the crazy-talented and wildly prolific James Reasoner, and folks like Kieran Shea and Dan O'Shea, who may not be household names yet, but just you wait. And that list barely scratches the surface.
Add to that a killer premise, and what you're left with is a can't-miss collection. So what're you waiting for? Make with the clicky and download.