co-edited by Sarah M. Chen and E.A. Aymar
March 2017
Down and Out Books



An hour ago, I opened a box of ten copies of THE NIGHT OF THE FLOOD. I held the print version in my hand.

I can’t stop staring at it.

I just love the cover. The stark darkness, mixed with the sense of cinema noir, the bold red letters at the top like some sort of dire billboard on the outskirts of the novel’s fictional town of Everton…it’s pretty. Down and Out Books did a great job with this one.

And, weirdly, I feel a different sense of pride than I normally do with something I’ve published.

Maybe that’s because I’ve never co-edited an anthology? There’s a unique responsibility that, I’ve since realized, comes with that title. It’s not only the writer who bears the weight of writing a good story; that also lies with the editors.

(By which I mean, if you really love any of the stories in THE NIGHT OF THE FLOOD, it’s all me and my co-editor, Sarah M. Chen. We get all the credit. Give it!)

Or maybe that pride comes from the positive reviews the book has received. THE NIGHT OF THE FLOOD is the first book I’ve been associated with reviewed by major trades and acclaimed bloggers, and their kind, encouraging responses have been lovely to read (if not nerve-wracking to wait for). Yes, reviews are subjective and often debatable, but there’s an undeniable thrill in receiving respect from your peers. Especially now, when it seems there are so many strong voices in crime fiction, and certainly no shortage of hungry, determined, talented writers.

But, ultimately, much of this pride comes from working with friends; friends who are those hungry, determined, talented folk; friends who saw this concept of a novel-in-stories develop from e-mails traded back and forth to the shiny new book sitting next to me right now. So I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a few of those friends a chance to share this essay, and the opportunity to tell you what led to their stories in THE NIGHT OF THE FLOOD.


Sarah M. Chen

“A Watery Grave” is about second chances and karma. It’s told from two POVs: Loree, a young woman forced into re-paying the debts of her dead husband and Kevin, an eye doctor who protects his clinic from looters. Initially, this was all Loree’s story, a female trucker thrown into Everton’s chaos as she passes through. I didn’t know the area very well (OK, I know Everton is fictional but I’ve never been to Pennsylvania) so I came up with a cross-country truck driver, the quintessential loner / outsider. I handle insurance claims for tractor-trailer companies so it’s a world I enjoy writing about. A parallel story-line featuring Everton residents, Kevin and his roughneck buddy, Ricky, help bring everything full circle.


Angel Luis Colon

“Bad Day to Be the Bad Guy” is a little prequel story to The Fury of Blacky Jaguar (thanks PA death penalty timeline) that brings Blacky Jaguar into the forefront of the events that led to the flood. Two things drew me in that direction. One, it would be a great challenge to stitch a character of mine into a world built by so many wonderful and distinct voices. Two, well, I wanted to have a little fun with the standard Blacky format (cartoon violence with a dash of awfulness) while answering the question of how he got that wonderful Plymouth Fury he loves so much. Now as for the WHY he loves that specific type of car, well, maybe we’ll find out in another story.


Jennifer Hillier

As I was tasked with writing the epilogue, I had to wait until everyone’s story was completed – and some minor editing done by Ed and Sarah for consistency and flow – before I could even begin to think about what to say. After all, thirteen different voices had come before mine, and the pool of talent in this anthology was obvious. The last thing I wanted to do was write anything that didn’t do them justice. As I read through the stories, the extent of the damage to the town jumped out at me, which left me with three burning questions: What have the Daughters accomplished? Where do they go from here? And how do I leave the reader with – well, if not closure, then at least a twisted sense of satisfaction – that it was worth it to go on this crazy ride with all of us? Big shoes to fill…and I had thirteen pairs.


NIGHT OF THE FLOOD is available now wherever books are sold!