Down and Out Books

March 23d, 2019

Edited by Holly West

The short story can be one of the most enjoyable storytelling vehicles for any genre. Add a little violence here, a little revenge there, and you have a crime story that can fit comfortably into any genre. That’s the beauty of crime fiction: by changing the set design, a crime story can take a reader into any type of story they like. As much fun as short stories are to read, outlets for this kind of writing have been slowly disappearing in recent years. This is a real shame, since short stories are one of the chief ways readers can discover their new favorite authors.

With MURDER-A-GO-GO’S editor Holly West has put together an anthology that is lean, mean, and packs a rock ‘n roll punch. Readers will meet, or be reintroduced, to 25 of their new favorite authors. The common theme? The music of the trailblazing Los Angeles band, the Go-Go’s. Crime fiction inspired by Belinda Carlisle and Co.? Yes! This proves to be an irresistible combination. Like the best albums (I totally just dated myself saying ALBUMS) readers will find a wide variety of tone and style in this collection.

Susanna Calkins brings a wry sense of humor and tension to her story YOU THOUGHT. Readers will find themselves nodding, smiling, and ultimately cheering as they read it. Many first-time homebuyers find themselves moving into the house from The Money Pit. But Tom Hanks and Shelly Long never resorted to murder like Calkins’ protagonists do.

YOU CAN’T WALK IN YOUR SLEEP (IF YOU CAN’T SLEEP) by Nadine Nettmann is a tense presentation of solitary noir. One woman’s battle against her own loneliness, and the danger that lies in reaching out to strangers in the hope of companionship.

Meanwhile, S.W. Lauden’s story VACATION is about as far as one can get from the cheery pop vibe of the original song. Lauden pulls us literally into the mind of a killer. What is real, and what is a memory? What is a real memory, and what is the distorted recollection of a madman? I had to take a moment after reading this one.

FADING FAST by Sarah M. Chen gives the reader a fast-paced revenge tale with a whiplash plot twist. A truly devious story that fully displays all of Chen’s storytelling skills.

Jessica Laine exposes the seedy and scandalous underbelly of a tony Twin Cities suburb in LUST TO LOVE.

This is just a small sampling of the exceptional collection of stories and authors that West has assembled for MURDER-A-GO-GO’S. With a table of contents filled with veteran mystery authors as well as strong up-and-coming talent, readers are sure to find their new favorite writers. Included in the anthology is a forward by Go-Go singer/guitarist Jane Wiedlin. The forward is a wonderful essay that shines a light on Wiedlin’s love of reading and lends an air of authenticity to the project. MURDER-A-GO-GO’S is a fantastic anthology that includes a wide-ranging selection of stories that will appeal to fans of 1980’s nostalgia as well as die-hard mystery readers.

All proceeds from the sale of MURDER-A-GO-GO’S benefit Planned Parenthood.

Dan Malmon