Edited by Rick Ollerman, Down & Out: The Magazine: Issue 1 is packed full of lots of good reading. After a short introduction, it is on to the stories. Each story has a brief introduction that explains a little bit of the background of the author as well as placing the presented in the context of the author’s work. Many of the tales in this issue tie into series work by authors.
Such is the case with the first author, Michael A. Black. His tale that leads off this first issue features the author’s signature character, private investigator Ron Shade. In “Dress Blues: A Ron Shade Story.” Inspired by a real life case according to the introduction, Mr. Shade has to find a boy who has run away from the Woodsen Academy.
Editor Rick Ollerman is up next with “Hit Me: A Scott Porter Agency Story.” Amanda has been difficult for far too long. He needs her gone. The only question is how to make it happen permanently. How do you go about hiring a hitman?
Late September and the breeze off the Seine is colder than it should be. For Inspector Alain Ducard of the Police Nationale it was hard to leave his warm bed and the comforts of his wife, but when the boss says go to the murder scene, he goes to the murder scene. He didn’t have a choice even though he works Intelligence and not Homicide. He has no idea why he was called in, but will soon find out in “The Solitary Man: A University Story” by Terrence McCauley.
Readers take a break from reading stories with the next piece by J. Kingston Pierce titled “Placed Into Evidence.” Best known for his highly entertaining site, The Rap Sheet, Mr. Pierce gives readers the highlights on seven books coming up. He also points out the fact, at least for some of us; the change in seasons does not mean a change in what one looks for in a good book.
I have been a longtime fan of the work of Reed Farrel Coleman. He hooked my parents who were avid readers and raved about the early installments of the Moe Prager series. I got hooked and used his work in reviews and FFB review entries. The last couple of years Mom could no longer read much at all due to her failing eyesight and memory issues, but she often talked about how much she enjoyed the series. As I now again live in the house I grew up in after inheriting it last year after my Mom passed from the consequences of a massive stroke, reading “Breakage: A Moe Prager Story” had a strong emotional impact. 1984 in Brooklyn and Moe has been doing very little detecting work. In fact, he has done none in several months. That is until Mr. Israel Roth, forty years Moe’s senior and a friend and far more, comes to see him. He needs Moe to find a concertation camp survivor just might be the wife of a dying man.
“On the Job Interview: A Slick and Bo Story” by Eric Beetner follows where Bo is glad he smoked on the way to the bar to calm his nerves once he had seen the man known as “Slick.” The job is a smash and grab. Slick is not about to go back to jail for anyone. Slick needs a good partner so if the first job goes right there could be future work. One also has to deal with the current partner as well.
It might be time to get a dog in “Trash: An Andrea Vogel Story” by Jen Conley. A cop, a widow, and the depression is pretty deep. A dog might help. Then there is the problem of Sheila Kemper. 2002 was a long time ago, but seeing her brings back the old fury.
After an introduction about Black Mask Magazine and the context of the story, “Rough Justice: A Donahue Story” by Frederick Nebel. Donahue is in town and working a case that has taken him from New York to St. Louis. Donahue is not happy. Not only is it too damn hot, he has to rely on a local contact for information and support. First up, Donahue needs a local cop with certain qualities.
Closing the fiction is a stand-alone story by Thomas Pluck titled “Deadbeat.” Our narrator works the high steel while trying to hide the extent of his knee injury. He chews pain pills so he can keep working to pay his mounting bills. He is a supervisor and needs to do what he needs to do to keep his job and also make sure that the union stays happy.
A final word from the editor and a listing of other books available from the publisher close out the issue. There are a lot of books so there plenty of reading suggestions. These suggestions are in addition to the books already mentioned by way of the introductions to the various stories.
Down & Out: The Magazine: Issue 1 is a good one. Plenty of variety in stories, both old and new, as well as the nice addition of the upcoming books by J. Kingston Pierce make this first issue well worth your time and money. If the quality of content in this first issue continues in subsequent issues, this magazine should be able to find a steady if not growing audience.
Down & Out: The Magazine: Issue 1 (Volume 1)
Editor Rick Ollerman
Down And Out Books
Down And Out Books
eBook (also available in print format)
Material was purchased by way of a gift card from my oldest son late last December.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2018