Practically Family

“Things are happening,” VH said, “and I need to know who Ican trust. Uncle Harley is high on you. Says you’re practically family.”

“I’m tempted, VH, but it’s a pretty far step for me.”

“Is it?  Why were you dealing before?”

“I was short of money and it was easy.  Until it wasn’t.”

“You said your supplier didn’t even know you’d been busted.  What kind of trust is that?”

Clay thought this over.

“Plus,” Clay said, “who’s going to believe an Emory law student is taking orders from a hog farmer in Dennon? Isn’t that why you want me?  Because nobody would expect it?”

“If your enemy expects you to go north,” VH said, “go south.”

“Holy shit.  Did you just quote Sun-Tzu?”

“My granddaddy used to say that.  Look over here.”

Clay stared at the brown crusted concrete tank, the heavy sludge that was somewhere between liquid and solid, and wondered how deep it was. All kinds of shit jokes came to mind, but a tightness in his stomach told him not to speak.

Lee and Elson dropped the tailgate and pulled out a canvas bundle that grunted when it hit the ground. Clay’s neck hair stood up.  VH nodded and they pulled the canvas to the edge of the manure pit.

“I’ll probably keep this pit, after the new one’s finished.  Sentimental reasons,” VH said.  He stood at the edge as Lee and Elson untied the rope and pulled the canvas open.  Inside was a man, his head dripping with sweat and eyes rolling from VH to the cousins.  Duct tape covered his mouth.  Clay’s mouth was suddenly dry.

“You know what I want, don’t you?” VH asked.  He took a step back and the cousins picked the man up and lowered him until the top of his head touched the sludge.  His moans turned to muffled screams, then to choking.  VH nodded and they dropped him back on the ground.  Lee pulled off the duct tape and the man took in huge gulps of air, choking and coughing.  VH knelt beside him and waited till the coughing subsided.

“You know the gasses in there, they can be lethal,” VH said.

“VH I swear¾“ the man said in a squeaky voice.

“You got your methane and ammonia, but there’s others.  Hydrogen sulfide’s the deadliest.  You stir that sludge and it really pours out of there.  Two breaths of that high concentration can kill you.”  VH looked at Clay.  “That’s why the new one is vented so well.”

Clay’s heart was hammering.  He fought to keep his breathing even and face blank.  VH’s slight grin told him he wasn’t succeeding.  VH looked back at the man in canvas.

“I need a location and a name.”  He looked at Clay.  “We thought this guy was long gone with our shipment, but Uncle Harley remembered he had a sister in Savannah.  Harley and his details.”  He looked back at the man.  “Who was your contact?”

“VH please¾“

“Lee, grab that rake and stir that slurry some.”

The rake was a pitchfork; its tines curved ninety degrees.  He plopped it into the sludge and stirred.  The fresh smell drove Clay back.

“Smell that?” VH asked.  “That’s that gas releasing.”  He nodded and Elson pulled him toward the pit.

“No!” the man screamed.  “Skull Creek!  Just south of the mouth!  That big stretch of beach!”

Elson looked at VH.  “That’s a good place, cuz.”

“Sure is.  Who set you up?”

“Jaspers!  That DEA guy.  He always knows where the feds will be.”

“See Clay?” VH said.  “Feds got no trust, either.”  He pointed with his chin and Elson picked the man up by the feet and shoved him into the sludge head first.  He didn’t even have time to scream.  His legs kicked, but only for a few seconds.  Elson pushed him in to the knees, then Lee pushed on his feet with the manure fork till the thick brown sludge closed over his soles.

“He’s got plenty of company down there,” VH said. “None of them were family, either.”

Elson clapped Clay on the back and grinned.

“Ready to talk numbers?” VH asked.


An Italian Affair

He saw Marlene from the bottom of the stairs before she saw him.A brilliant ray of sunlight burst through the overcast sky, glowing around her like a halo. In this light, she resembled a saint, or perhaps a Madonna. He laughed at the irony.

His pulse quickened—she always had this effect on him. He took a deep breath, expanding his lungs until he could inhale no more, and then slowly, ever so slowly, he exhaled, all the while watching her. God, she was beautiful.

She descended the stone stairs to the piazza, still not seeing him. He wondered whether he should call out to her. Over a year had passed since they had parted, and the memory of their last conversation still pained him. His face grew warm as he recalled her words: “When you leave, there must be no further contact between us. It’s for the best.”

Why was she still in Rome?

He moved behind a stone column at the base of the steps to watch her walk across the piazza, and as she came closer he shrank into the shadows to remain hidden from her. He longed to reach out, to seize her hand, but he did not move. Better to let her pass without knowing he was back.

A flock of pigeons scattered into the air above his head, and she turned at the commotion. Her gaze moved to where he stood, and he knew she saw him standing in the shadows. Her mouth opened slightly and she raised her right arm as if to wave, but immediately lowered it.

Two officers of the polizia di stato strolled toward him. He pretended to study the map he’d been carrying, hoping they would pass without noticing him. They came closer but did not stop.

Once the police moved past him, he scanned the piazza and found Marlene again. She was walking away without appearing to rush. For a second, he felt rooted to the rough stones of the piazza. He snapped out of his stupor and ran after her, weaving his way through tourists taking selfies at the fountain. When he caught up to her, he grabbed her arm and spun her around to face him.

 Her face flushed and she yanked free from his grasp. “Were you following me? Why are you here?”

“I’ve been back for almost a month now. I thought you’d be long gone.”

“Yeah, well, I’m still here, thanks to you. I’ve been scraping by. I didn’t have many options after you took off with the stash. Lucky the polizia didn’t connect me to the job.” Her voice was bitter.

He studied her face for any sign she might be lying. “But I left your share with Brian before I left. Didn’t he—”

“Brian? He left Rome right after you did, said you’d taken all the money and he was going after you. Wait—are you telling me that little bastard has my money?”

He nodded.

Her brow furrowed as she digested this information. Then she grabbed his wrist and pulled him through the crowd to a deserted alley. She abruptly stopped and faced him, her nostrils flared, her lips pulled back, her teeth bared like a wolf about to attack. She tightened her grip until he winced. Letting go of his wrist, she relaxed her jaw, and an unsettling calmness came over her.

 “We’ve got a lot of catching up to do—but first you’re going to help me find him.” She smiled, and he remembered what happened to the last guy who’d crossed her. The police never did find all the pieces. God help Brian.


The Buttered Pig

I was in Virginia. Or West Virginia. I don’t remember what the last sign read before I turned into the rest stop.

A shifty local in a brown pleather jacket quietly offered me a Walkman as I passed by the trucker hats and gum.

“Seven dollars unopened. Okay, five.”

I couldn’t see straight, and wanted to sit down even though I’d been sitting in the car for

thirteen hours, having started in Cape Canaveral. The sticky long distance driving glaze enveloped me.

I watched the Challenger explode into pieces yesterday. America was in mourning.

“Fuck off,” was his final offer.

He slithered away and disappeared past the claw machine that caged dead-eyed stuffed animals.

A tin sounding voice came from a waitress that buzzed by me. “Welcome to The Pig, seat yourself honey.”

I should have kept driving, eaten on the go, it was a long way to New York. Greasy footprint impressions on the floor sent shivers through me. Johnny Paycheck crackled from the radio in the kitchen, and every now and again, a skinny black man in the order window peeked over his bejeweled sunglasses to survey the restaurant. Just to be sure everything was copacetic.

She arrived and sat directly behind me. I heard coffee slurps in-between her whimpers, and turned around to ask if she needed help. A blonde hair bun poked above the booth. She said no, but her crying escalated.

I said, “You sure?” and slid out of the booth.

Holy shit, her eyes. Her mouth. Bloody lip and nose, nobody has helped her yet. Where was I again?

She started, as if to soften my interrogation, “It’s no big deal, but I sure would appreciate a ride home. My house isn’t far. He won’t be home, he’s on his way to Maryland to drop off pallets of butcher paper. He’ll be back tomorrow.”

He must be her old man who put the pounding on her. I agreed to give her a ride. While she tended to her wounds in the bathroom, I tried, but failed, to finish the shitty meatloaf I had ordered.

Other than offering up her name, Roxanne, she didn’t have much to say, and I couldn’t blame her. I wondered if I should have called the cops, or taken her to a hotel, a shelter, anywhere to hide her out for a while.

Instead, I pulled up to her house. She was real sorry my meal was interrupted and wanted to show her appreciation by making me a sandwich for the road. Initially I declined, but at her insistence, I agreed to take the sandwich. It seemed as though she wanted company, didn’t want to be alone just yet.

She opened the back door to the house, and there he was. The hood who was hawking the Walkman stood in the middle of the kitchen, and greeted me with a sharp, “What’s up New York?”

He put a survival knife to my throat as Roxanne dug my wallet out of my back pocket.

He counted $73 in cash, stuffed it into his sweatpants and said, “Seven dimes, not bad New York. Now get the fuck out of here and don’t stop until you get home. And don’t bother calling the cops, there aren’t any around here.”

Roxanne smiled like a sated crocodile, but winced when it reached her puffy left eye.

I could have called the cops. Or maybe not, according to Mr. Walkman. But they let me go unharmed, and I wanted out of that town immediately, so I reasoned with myself that it was a learning experience.

I was somewhere in Pennsylvania when I noticed that she had lifted my watch.

I’ll be sure to avoid that route for a future rocket launch. If there is a next time. Jesus, they all died up there.


One in Sixty-Four

Sit down, sit down! God almighty don’t look nervous. Glad you made it! You act like this is the first time you’ve seen a bar stool by slot machine. Sit! Sit. And stop looking like a double dose of laxatives just kicked in. There’s no shortage of ass in this glorious house of cash, but you’ll never get any with that look on your face.

You want a cocktail?  Sure you do. You seem like a clear liquor guy. I’ve been in this game since you were a baby, and the biggest mistake you can make is giving bourbon to a vodka man. Total waste. Hey! Hey darl’n! Tiffany, right? Cheryl? Whatever. I need that double vodka you’re holding. It’s not the well shit, is it? No? Good. Yeah, yeah right there. Thanks!

Lord my manners! Do you mind if I put my arm around you? We’re practically pals at this point. Scoot closer. Atta boy. It’s so loud in here. The first time you enter a place like this, the sounds are a train wreck. Bells. Clashes. Cheers. A jazz band. The groans of drunks. The clatter of slot reels. The clanging coins. The thunk of the roulette ball on the roulette wheel. The sounds assault the senses, and there are two ways to escape. Get out, or down a cocktail and become one with the noise.

Hey! Enough gawking at that cocktail waitress. Don’t let that perfect ass and cotton tail fool you.  Nothing to see there but heartbreak and gonorrhea. Eyes on me. Take a drink.

Anyway–Sit here long enough, hour after hour, day after day, decade after decade, and your brain does weird shit. It turns into something like an egg separator, but for sounds. Tell me to close my eyes. Do it. Make sure they’re good and closed. If you catch me peeking, poke ‘em. I can take it. I’ve dealt with worse.

Ok. There’s a machine, three rows back and to the right. It’s a Star Wars themed penny slot. The pulls have been about 40 seconds apart. That’s a patient gambler, there. Someone who just likes to come for the free booze and the company. They pull the lever to fit in. To keep their seat. That’s it. But go back another row, to the left, into that clunky batch of Betty Bop slots?  Whoever has the end seat can’t pull the lever fast enough. That’s a person who doesn’t know the odds. You don’t come into this house without knowing the odds.

Impressed enough? I’ll just open my eyes and–and wow! Holy shit is it bright! I should show you the electric bill. You’d empty your colon, right on that seat. I mean, you might anyway. You see. When you weren’t looking a moment ago I slipped a bonus in your vodka. Clear and tasteless, just like the rest of the poison in that glass. By my count you have a good, oh I’ll say three minutes, before your heart seizes like an old engine.  My magic potion relaxes the bowels, too.

Do me a favor. If you keel over here, die before you shit yourself. It’s more dignified in that order.

That’s if you die. I don’t have lot of patience for peckers like you—not the ones who trample on my daughters.  And the balls on you! Playing both my girls once? What are the chances that happens? What are the chances you walk outta here?

As it happens. Your odds are about one in sixty-four. Go ahead, take a look at the reels in front of you. The jackpot is that picture of Popeye, flexing that juicy bicep of his and giving that signature wink. He’s your chance at mercy. I can sympathize with a man who’s let his cock run his life. I have my own history and kids to prove it.

You’ll hit Popeye once in sixty-four tries. You get one chance. If that spinach guzzling son of a bitch winks at me, you get the potion in my other pocket. The good potion. And no heroics. Every camera in this place, my place, is on you.            

Go on. Your pull.


Payday Friday

He met her the first time at Otto’s. Payday Friday, he wanted to meet her again. A date he’d call it. A short drive from the plant after showering, slap on the bay rum. “Someone’s getting some tonight?” He grinned, blushed. Anders shrugged, a young twenty-five. She wouldn’t expect him.

The wind barreled off Lake Superior, greasing the iron footbridge high over the railroad tracks with ice. A perilous walk to the lot where his Starlight coupe sat. He’d tuned it up just before winter clapped down. She’d get a cozy ride home. Anders was mindful in some respects.

Otto’s, red and yellow neon over the front door, snow ghosts blowing past the streetlights, hunkered down in the chiaroscuro of moonlight, streetlight, snow, and the wooden railroad trestle running out to the harbor and docks.

Anders looked around, pulling off his stocking cap, lined choppers, unzipping the heavy red-and-black plaid jacket. Somebody had plugged the Wurlitzer with coin. Patsy Cline sang “Walkin’ After Midnight.” He looked for Marcella’s Lucille-Ball-red head. In that booth? No.

He ordered a sip and snort from Raymond, slammed home the warming shot. “Say, you seen Marcella tonight?”

Playing dim, wiping glasses clean with a dingy cloth, Raymond twitched his melon head no.

“Marcella Lundquist?” Anders tried again, post-Fitger’s sip.

Raymond cocked his head. Anders knew he was nowhere near a halfwit. What, did he have to slip him a sawbuck for information, like he was a movie detective? “That leggy redhead?”

Anders smiled. “Yeah. That’s Marcella. So?”

“No. I don’t think so.”

“What?”

“But I just came on at six.” The Hamm’s clock on the wall read 11:18. “Not to say she wasn’t here earlier. Uncle Otto was tending bar then. He’d know. But he’s probably sleeping now.”

Nodding, Anders swept the barroom again. Three couples slow dancing. No Marcella. He turned back. “Set me up. I’ll be right back.”

He hit the john. Stomach wobbles. He situated himself on the throne just in time.

Belly settled, he noticed an expensive cigar-brown overcoat hanging from the door. Anders checked its pockets, looking for some identification. Leather gloves, a pack of cigarettes, a matchbook, and an envelope with First National Bank printed in the upper left corner. It was thick with cash.

After splashing water on his face at the sink, drying off, he pulled the envelope out of his pocket. Opened it again, thumbed the bills.

He glanced at the door latch. Locked. He pulled the wad out, counted it, then he recounted it. He looked in the mottled mirror. He wasn’t dreaming. He counted the bills a third time.

Each time, the figure was the same.

Ten thousand dollars. More than he made in two years.

He shoved the envelope inside his shirt, tucked low beneath his belt. He walked back to the bar and pulled on his jacket.

Raymond, at the end of the bar, gestured come over. He wouldn’t look Anders in the eye. “Okay. I saw Marcella. I saw her leave.”

“Yeah?”

Raymond polished a slice of bar top real estate. “Yeah, she was talking with Mr. High-Life. Hinckley, the bank VP.” The name meant nothing to Anders. ‘Bank’ did. “They were getting hot and heavy in a booth back there. Fucking redheads. Even that one, what you seen when you came in.”

“Okay?”

“They left like they were going to make Hot Springs tonight.” Raymond rolled his eyes. “The dick-for-brains didn’t even wear his overcoat. He’s probably hopping her in his car right this minute.”

“What’s he drive?”

“Aw, kid. You don’t want…”

“I’m not going to do anything to him.”

Raymond shook his head. “A big fucking Caddy. Shiny, black. This year’s model.”

The wind still blew. Anders spotted the banker’s ’56 Cadillac in the lot. It stood out. It glared.

He walked alongside, his shadow not falling across either occupant. High-Life, eyes closed, leaned back in his seat. Marcella’s head dipped in his lap like a drinking bird toy.

Anders moved off into the trestle’s dark shadow, a hand in his coat pocket pressing against the ten thousand.

The Cadillac action dropped off. Anders walked to his coupe, figuring, the three of them, they each got their payday.


5 Questions with
Nick Kolakowski

This week Nick Kolakowski‘s third and final release of the Love & Bullets trilogy hits with Main Bad Guy. Nick has not only contributed this wonderful series to the Shotgun Honey Book line, but he’s also one of the three gauntlet members who review fiction submissions for the site, as well an unsung book editor for our imprint. He helps out a lot.

In fact, usually, Nick is interviewer for the 5 Questions interviews, but today we flip the script. Nick is the subject, and Travis Richardson, who was Nick’s last victim is the interviewer. So lets see what transpired.

Q. MAIN BAD GUY is the third and final book in the “Love & Bullets” trilogy. When you started the first book, A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps, did you know it was going to be a trilogy? If so, did you know what each of the stories would be about early on and the ends of the major characters? And if not, do you regret any choices made in the first book that you might not have made if knew it was a three part series?

When I wrote “A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps,” I had no idea it would become a trilogy—and I regret killing one of the main characters, who was funny and unhinged and in retrospect would have been a valuable player throughout the subsequent two books. I also regret killing him in a way that gave me absolutely zero wiggle room for bringing him back; at least authors like Arthur Conan Doyle were smart enough to subject their heroes to highly ambiguous demises, like throwing them into a large body of water.

All that aside, after I finished writing “Brutal Bunch,” the characters of Bill and Fiona kept speaking to me, and I felt compelled to begin writing another book about them. Plot-wise, I didn’t know exactly where I wanted them to end up, but character-wise I had very firm ideas: Fiona, who starts out as pretty ruthless and bloodthirsty, was going to get increasingly pacifistic, and Bill, who is a great hustler but pretty much useless when it comes to violence, was going to get more competent at survival.

Q. In MAIN BAD GUY you have a good bad guys (former assassins, thieves, etc.) vs. bad bad guys (evil crime bosses, paranoid drug kings, mercenaries, etc.) Which do you prefer to write and why?

Bad bad guys are hard to sustain over an entire book—that’s why Hannibal Lecter always seems to work better as a supporting character, or at least a second lead, than as a main character. With good bad guys, though, you have a lot of internal friction—there are fine character beats you can mine out of someone whose intentions are good, but whose circumstances lead them to do highly anti-social things like kill people. So I like writing about the good bad guys; they seem more capable of driving a narrative that’s hundreds of pages long.

Q. In the final book, Bill and Fiona spend the entire time in New York. (Seriously they can’t move.) It seems the other two books have multiple locations beyond the Empire State. As a New Yorker, did you want to end the series in the Big Apple as a sort of messed up love letter and what does New York mean to you in terms of crime fiction?

The first book begins in New York (chronologically, at least; it appears in flashbacks) and so I always wanted it to end there. New York has been a prime location for crime fiction for many decades, but the character of the city has changed considerably in the last quarter-century; when you read the early books of someone like Lawrence Block, where Midtown is a seedy wreck, it now seems like an alien world. I wanted “Main Bad Guy” to address New York’s gentrifying environment, and suggest that, no matter how clean or shiny a place might become, at least some of its people will always remain warped or cracked or seedy.

Plus, I’m sick of how gentrification has transformed portions of my neighborhood into a bunch of soulless, tasteless buildings; taking one of those buildings and making it the center of a lot of fiery mayhem gave me a vicarious and vicious thrill.

Visit NickKolakowski.com

Q. The “Love & Bullets” collection has a lot of gonzo action that is hilarious and thrilling. I love it. Were there any scenes that you wrote through the series that you had to retract or tone down to keep it within the realms of reality? Or did you create an impossible situation that Fiona and Bill couldn’t escape?   

I didn’t tone anything down—in fact, at certain key moments, I asked myself how I could maximize the weirdness. The tone of the books is madcap enough that I felt I could really stretch the reality; when you have a character prancing through a gunfight in an Elvis suit (“A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps”), decapitating another character in a self-driving Tesla (“Slaughterhouse Blues”), or trying to hide in a weed grow-house on top of a skyscraper (“Main Bad Guy”), pretty much anything goes.

With “Main Bad Guy,” my goal was ultimately to confine Bill and Fiona into as small a space as possible. I’ve always loved siege movies like John Carpenter’s “Assault on Precinct 13,” and I wanted to design something that paid homage to that—put your characters in a box, give them zero resources, surround them with villains, and let them try to figure out how to survive.

Q. You open MAIN BAD GUY with a scene from Fiona’s past. It was a fun and informative scene to know who she is and her relationship with her father. Did you always have that as her bio or did it evolve from the previous novels?

That scene was originally a flashback from the first book! I cut it out because of pacing, but I always wanted to use it; “Main Bad Guy” gave me an opportunity to do so, because it also introduces her father, who plays a major role in the book. If you want insight into Fiona’s character, you just need to realize she’s spent her life emulating her daddy.  


Author of the Week: Joe Okonkwo

In the weeks to come I’ll be looking back at authors and stories featured on Shotgun Honey that deserve another visit because it personally connected with me or I believe it was overlooked when published.

Joe Okonkwo submitted “A Proper Welcome” several years back, and what I loved about the story was how it captured a tone through the use of lyrical writing closely tying music and atmosphere. When a story feels like it has a beat, a rhythm, strums with life, you’ve got me hooked. I’d love to see Joe back at Shotgun Honey.

Thank you Joe for a story that gives us a little more.


The Hit

She was as nervous as a lizard sunning itself on the side of the freeway. It felt so good, but getting squashed was just one swerve away. His lips were firecrackers. His eyes knew a thousand ways for you to die.

“You wanna get out of here?” he said.

“You betcha.”

Outside, the night was thick and redolent. Palm trees whispered, “You ain’t seen nothin yet.”

His car was a rough beast. It growled, but its belly was full of Taco Bell wrappers.

He put his hand on her breast. She’d been here before. She knew where it was going.

“Drive,” she said.

The mean car whipped through backroads curves, ate asphalt like it was fudge. His left hand drove the beast. His right hand drove her crazy.

They came to the lake to end all lakes: Ripples in moonlight. Voices of ardent insects. A breeze like the kiss your mother gives you before you ride the orphan train.

“Kiss me,” she said.

Hot hands in moonlight. She was open and willing.

She rode the man with the deadly eyes without fear. Her super power was desire, and its faith was stronger than any danger. Her orgasm was the crack of a whip, a sudden storm over moonlight lake.

“I need you to do a job for me,” she said.

“I thought I just did.”

“Such a joker.”

The man with the fatal eyes laughed, head thrown back to show a bull’s neck.  Lightning cracked her body again, and she glowed like the moon all the way back to town.

Harvey was the kind of guy who needed to be dead. Too quick with a slap and a shove; too stingy with the love stuff. She’d married him on a two-year bender. The next two years were nothing but a long comedown. She’d bottomed out the night she took a ride with the man with the blossoming lips and the killing eyes.

Harvey took her by the shoulders and sat her down on the bed.

“You stink,” he said.

She knew she did. The other man’s fatal odor coated her skin like the candy covering a melted M&M. She was still oozing like chocolate.

“I’ll take a shower.”

“Maybe I don’t care.”

“Maybe you don’t.”

He took her the way he always did, letting her know she was like the bed or the table, just another thing of his. No lightning cracks here. Her skin ached for moonlight.

Jasmine fell through a gentle summer rain the night Harvey died. A shadow at the window, a midnight walk, New Orleans gleaming across the lake like a pile of discarded 7-Up cans. Outside, she saw the silhouettes through the window shade, one thrusting and thrusting, the other struggling, stumbling, falling. Good-bye, Harvey.

Hello, burning kiss. He met her outside, in the shadows under the magnolias. She handed over the three thousand bucks, feeling like that kiss should have been worth a discount.

She pressed against him, body glowing in the aftermath of no more Harvey. Her hands felt the hard wad of the cash, the hard wad of his dick.

He held her wrists.

“Easy.”

“I don’t want it easy.”

She squirmed against him. He pulled her hands behind her back. It made her crazier. Mouth open, panting, she lunged for his tongue, and he let her have it again. A kiss deeper than the grave, hot as hell.

 She fell back, breathless, letting her body arch back against his pinioning hands. “I want you,” she gasped. “I want it. Please.”

He looked down at her with those death eyes.

“I don’t mix business with pleasure,” he said.

“What about the other night?”

“That was business, too.”

“You motherfucker.”

One steely hand still capturing her wrists, he put his other on her breast. She moaned, but it wasn’t really a caress. It was a warning. And her thrumming body took it.

She went still, soaked and shivering as she was. When he saw she was quiet, he let her go.

“Don’t try to find me,” said the man with the killing eyes.

She wouldn’t. But the tropical night opened for her like a ripe fruit. She knew she’d find something out there.


Submissions Open for Shotgun Honey Presents Volume 4.

In 2012 we published our first book, Shotgun Honey Presents: Both Barrels, an anthology featuring 29 tales of crime from authors like Frank Bill, Chris F. Holm, and Kieron Shea. We continued with two additional volumes in 2013 and 2015, Reloaded and Locked and Loaded. All three were general crime, noir and mystery compilations. All three are still in circulation and are a good indicator of the kinds of stories we like.

In late 2019, we’re going to do it again and are actively looking for submissions for Shotgun Honey Presents Volume 4, yet to be titled.

Deadline for submissions is Sunday March 31, 2019.