(2001, edited by Diana Killian and Kevin Burton Smith)
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According to Diana, this will always be one of her favorite projects. ("Collaboration is half the fun," she says.)
Wicked Company Writers Community (in collaboration with The Thrilling Detective Website) was thrilled to present Down These Wicked Streets. Contained in this slim volume, were seven original private eye tales from writers from the Wicked Company Writer's Group. There were cynical hard-boiled stories here that may disturb some of you, and quirky tales of romance and suspense that may just amuse the hell out of you. But they're all part of the PI genre. Diana's very first P.I. story featuring Mary Kelly, "Just One of Those Things," made its debut here in fact.
So what's with the fascination with the PI genre? Well, in his introduction to The Thrilling Detective Web Site, my co-editor Kevin Burton Smith wrote, "It's the idea of the outsider, the loner, striving to impose his (or her) idea of justice on a world that may not want him, but which he understands. He may not always like it, he may not be able to effect any lasting change, he may not even be thanked, but to him, the right thing must be done."
But you know what Diana thinks? She says it's all about attitude. And these stories have it.
Unlike similar offerings, WICKED STREETS is short on quantity, but long on quality. There's no flash fiction here, nothing that can be quickly skimmed during the commercial break in a TV show or dashed off during a five-minute wait in line at the bank.
Instead, each of the seven stories presented... demands your attention and concentration for an extended period of time. The rewards, however, are well worth the effort, because these are all well-developed and richly textured tales, with a wealth of detail, evocative prose, and glib patter.
The writing styles, the settings, the periods, the protagonists and antagonists may be all different, but the stories are all uniformly good, solid, entertaining pieces, well up to the standards of what you'd find in top mystery publications. (The editors) have done an excellent job in selecting and presenting the seven tales in an attractive package.
It is to be hoped, by mystery and anthology fans alike, that this book represents just the first entry in a long line of Wicked Company Books yet to come. (Amazon.com review by Citizenew)
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