Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Review: Crime Syndicate Magazine: Issue 3 Edited by Eryk Pruitt and Michael Pool

The third issue of Crime Syndicate Magazine features ten stories as selected by guest co-editor Eryk Pruitt and owner/editor Michael Pool. This latest issue ties right into the previous issues that established what readers should expect when reading this magazine. This is a magazine of short crime fiction, often noir in style, and as such, these tales are not of happy dogs cavorting in fields while the owners dance with butterflies. The short stories that make up this issue are ales of pain, loss, and expectations that are that things will always get worse. 

Mr. Pruitt’s story, “The Deplorables,” begins the issue and does so with powerful imaging and pain so real on the page you can taste it on your tongue. With a husband that has the name, “Trigger Raywood” you know life is going to be hard. It is and not just because your child has Asperger’s. There is not much food for the family and you are barely holding everything and everyone together. But, there might be a solution in the odds and ends drawer in the kitchen if you can just get everybody to do what they should.

We have all seen the videos shot by folks as they are stopped by police. One of those videos is at the heart of “Good Cop Bad Cop” by Kevin Z. Garvey. Mr. Alex Austin is the driver and like his BMW, his mouth just won’t quit.

Tommy probably wouldn’t be robbing places if Nikki wasn’t pregnant. But, she is and that means he has to do what he has to do in “Below The Angels” by Max Booth III. That robbery at a drug store is just one small piece of this multi pov story were all the characters are linked together in some way and are experiencing some sort of personal crisis.

It is pouring when Doc and the narrator roll into the gas station in “Schmuck” by Dennis Day. The guy working at the station might be worth a few bills from the till. Until the big guy driving the Caddy comes in presenting a far more difficult challenge with a higher payday.

Waking up with blood on your t-shirt is not a good thing even if murder had been the reason for the trip from Nashville to New Orleans. Arti wanted to put a knife into the man who cheated on her and freshman Callisto went along for the ride. Artie is a sophomore transfer student from LSU and she wants Brice dead. Callisto had become a part of her plan as she would need help getting rid of the body afterwards in “Gods And Virgins In The Big Easy” by Nina Mansfield.

Tron and Day-Day went to the house looking for Trucky as “Slit The Belly” by S. A. Cosby begins. They have a plan, but all they find is an old man who is more than willing to invite them in to talk a spell.

We have all seen the twenty something guys with the man buns walking around. Rick and George have seen them as well. The difference is that Rick and George actually try to do something about it on the streets of Deep Ellum in Dallas. In “Hipster Pantsin’” by Travis Richardson, the guys attempt to answer the question and settle a bet in a story that is very funny as well as a commentary of the power of social media these days.

Ron is waiting outside the prison for the bus when the car rolls up. Scab and Toksvig are there to take him to Bowers to settle some things in “The Whitest Boy On The Block” by Paul Heatley. Survival in prison comes with a cost and there are bills due and payable when one gets out.

Meachy had sent the two guys to the house in Austin to deal with a problem. But, the guys found a complication in the form of a seventeen year old girl by the name of Angel in “Dirty South Of Heaven” by Allen Griffin. Her presence changes everything for all involved.

Rico Garcia is casing the place in his role as a fireplace inspector. His partner in crime, Carlos, is doing the same thing as they work through the condominium complex. It should be an easy score though, so far, they have not found that much good stuff in “The Contractors” by David A. Anthony.

Crime Syndicate Magazine: Issue Three continues the fine work that readers consumed in issues one and two. Complicated characters, stories with twists, and plenty of atmospheric details make these ten tales of crime fiction mighty good reads and well worth your time. As these are crime fiction tales, these stories are not for everyone as frequently there is graphic language and graphic violence in these works. Dark in overall tone with occasional flashes of twisted humor, Crime Syndicate Magazine: Issue Three is another very good read. 

Crime Syndicate Magazine: Issue 3
Edited by Eryk Pruitt and Michael Pool
Short Stack Books
September 2017
eBook (paperback available)
95 Pages

Review copy provided by Michael Pool for my possible use in an objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2017

1 comment:

Jacqueline Seewald said...


This does sound like an excellent magazine. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.