This week, I review three more stories from the current issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and one from a newly released horror anthology.
AHMM is known for variety, and stretching the boundaries. Fair Game, by Max Gersh, is a creepy story. The setting is a mostly abandoned roadside carnival with poorly cobbled together side show attractions. Jack and Beth, rather unsavory characters themselves, are lured into a rather horrifying tent. As with many short stories, if I say too much, I'll ruin the read for you. Fair Game reinforces every suspicion you've ever had about those fly-by-night carnivals that sprout like mushrooms in obscure parking lots.
Another confirmation of your instinctive fears is Blue Sludge Blues, by Shannon Lawrence, appearing in the collection of her horror short stories by the same name. This time, the focus of the horror is, rightfully, the public port-a-potty. Who hasn't reluctantly taken a seat over that peculiar blue-colored muck with serious misgivings? My granddaughter and I read this together, emitting the requisite "euws" and groans at the really scary and/or icky parts.
Moving back to more traditional mystery stories in AHMM, I read Walking on Water, by Michael A. Black. The friend for whom Brad served as a pallbearer shows up in his Private Investigator office, fleeing the Witness Protection Program. Brad faces what seems to be an impossible task, to hide his friend from gangsters determined to make sure they kill him this time. There is plenty of action, and a few unexpected twists, in this fun story.
Shauna Washington offers insight into her AHMM story, Knockoffs, here. Stacey Deshay is a personal shopper and stylist for the rich and famous. She flies to Las Vegas to deliver a jewel encrusted designer dress to a singer about to make her comeback after a stay in rehab. I felt like I was behind the scenes with Stacey, who was generally ignored during the big drama, giving a fly on the wall feel to her narration. A fun read with great characters.
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