Friday, July 31, 2020

FFB Review: Crime Syndicate Magazine: Issue 1 Editors Eric Beetner and Michael Pool

Back a few months ago I stopped doing FFB Reviews because I felt bad that so many of the reviews were repeats from the archives. I am not reading/reviewing anywhere near what I used to do. That had led to a lot of repeat reviews. In recent weeks with all the pandemic stress that is part of our lives every single day, it has come to mind that maybe reminding you of good reads is not a bad thing. When this review came up on my memories deal on FB the other day, it seemed like a good place to start. So, for this final Friday in July 2020, I offer you my review of the first issue of a short lived and very good magazine that featured short tales of Crime Fiction.

Crime Syndicate Magazine: Issue 1 certainly delivers on their idea of “A Magazine Of Crime Fiction.” From the distinctive cover to the eight short tales selected by Guest Editor Eric Beetner and Founder/Editior-In-Chief Michael Pool the first issue delivers in all aspects. As these are short stories and therefore it is not possible to say much without creating spoilers, the barebones descriptions below will have to suffice.

After a brief introduction from Michael Pool, the issue opens with “So Close” by Eric Beetner. He knew his wife, Shelly, was having an affair with a neighbor named Robert. Their affair has been going on for awhile now so he isn’t surprised to find them together at the house. He just never thought he would find them like this.

Suppose a family member died because of a crime. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a fully loaded clone ready to resume life and relationships if the worst happened? Reporters and other folks call the idea “victim replacement.” Those who work in sales prefer to call it “Restoration” in the tale of the same name by Art Taylor. No matter what you call it, sometimes customers have to have an additional incentive to make the sale.

One of the drawbacks of social media is that you can find out what others think about you. There are even a website that serves as the “premier consumer review site for mafia thugs, hitman, and muscle. Based in Hoboken, New Jersey the man known as Jackson “Jack the Hammer” Palmer isn’t getting good reviews. For Jack, an online diary helps him vent in “Jack The Hammer’s Online Identity Crisis” by Jeff Bowles.

Marco is always a bit of a jerk when the cards are going his way. For Darius they often don’t and the Berretta next to him isn’t helping with that. The poker game just the latest clash between the two in “On Tilt” by James Queally.

Danny needs a miracle in the form of 10k by next Tuesday or some very bad men are going to come to his airstream camper and do some very bad things to him. Tyler “The Plumber” Anderson is the bookie who most definitely wants his money in “Dee The Friendly Grizzly’s Little Miracle” by Nick Kolakowski.

Zeke is out and now Don and Jackson need to get to work in “God May Forgive You” by Paul Heatley. A score needs to be settled. 

The familiar theme of being cheated on is just one small piece of “Tuning The Old Joanna” by Tess Makovesky. Roy just needs to prove it by catching her in the act. To do that is going to require surveillance and that will not be easy.

Trooper Alvin Mags is working undercover in “The Line” by C. J. Edwards. The job is dangerous and that was before things got seriously complicated.

The first issue ends with an interesting interview with Eric Beetner. He talks about writing, upcoming projects, and quite a lot more.

Crime Syndicate Magazine: Issue 1 was a mighty good read. The eight short stories selected are far more complicated than their brief spoiler free explanations above. These are reads of depth that will surprise experienced mystery readers. Notably very funny with “Jack The Hammer’s Online Identity Crisis,” each short tale has quite a lot going on. Simply put, there is not a bad one in the bunch. Crime Syndicate Magazine: Issue 1 is a real treat for mystery and crime fiction readers. 

Crime Syndicate Magazine: Issue 1
Edited by Eric Beetner and Michael Pool
Short Stack Books
December 2015
eBook (paperback available)
79 Pages

Kevin R. Tipple ©2016, 2020


Jacqueline Seewald said...

A worthy review. Unfortunate, we have so few mystery magazines these days.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Thank you. I agree on the limits of the market. I think the lack of monetary support from readers is the main reason for that.