Brutal & Strange
Stories Inspired by the Songs of Elvis Costello
by Jim Fusilli
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Pub Date 05 Dec 2023 | Archive Date 11 Feb 2024
An anthology of stories inspired by the songs of Elvis Costello.
Table of Contents:
COMPLICATED SHADOWS by Meg Gardiner
MOTEL MATCHES by George Pelecanos
TRAMP THE DIRT DOWN by Catriona McPherson
ALMOST BLUE by Jim Fusilli
EVERYDAY I WRITE THE BOOK by Gar Anthony Haywood
WAITING FOR THE END OF THE WORLD by Peter Blauner
LIVING IN PARADISE by Raquel V. Reyes
BUSY BODIES by Ed Lin
(THE ANGELS WANNA WEAR MY) RED SHOES by Rob Osler
FAVOURITE HOUR by Martyn Waites
I WANT YOU by Alex Segura
WATCHING THE DETECTIVES by Mary Anna Evans
OPPORTUNITY by Reece Hirsch
MY AIM IS TRUE by Gary Phillips
ACCIDENTS WILL HAPPEN by Naomi Rand
PERMANENT LENT by Peter Spiegelman
THE BEAT by Raymond Benson
OUR LITTLE ANGEL by Mark Billingham
Available on NetGalley
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Brutal and Strange (Sched. for pub. Dec. 4, 2023; Down & Out Books)
“One of popular music’s most prolific and creative composers, Elvis Costello has written songs in every conceivable genre: pop, reggae, rock, country, funk, soul and jazz, but also for full orchestras and string quartets. What you may not have noticed is that a surprising number of these songs are crime stories—not mere nods toward unsavory events featuring questionable characters, but complete tales of murder and violence told in verse.” (Blurb from the publisher.) what you end up with is a terrific collection of dark and shadowy stories.
Complicated Shadows by Meg Gardiner is the first selection and it takes you on a journey through abandoned mines in the California desert and the lost souls dwelling there.
Motel Matches by George Pelecanos is about finding love in rundown bars and motels.
Tramp the Dirt Down by Catrina McPherson is all about saying goodbye to the dear departed.
Almost Blue by Jim Fusilli does an excellent job of connecting the music theme with a hi-fi department in a department store and a femme fatale golddigger and a tale that is at once too familiar and yet fresh and new.
Everyday I Write the Book by Gar Anthony Harwood is a story of a man flirting with love and trust and betrayal who decides he must have one last fling but can only do so if she betrays him first.
Waiting For the End of the World by Peter Blauner offers us an updated version perhaps of Bernie Goetz and the epidemic of crime of New York’s subways.
Living in Paradise by Raquel V. Reyes is set on the Florida Coast with a story that might interest Travis McGee.
Busy Bodies by Ed Lin and s, of course, set in Chinatown where a driver finds he is going to be driving a hearse to the cemetery and that the guys he’s driving it for aren’t legit and neither us the cargo.
(The Angels Want to wear My) Red Shoes by Rob Osler is a Mr. Mustard in the drawing room with a candlestick type of locked-house mystery, but set in a club featuring a drag Queen show and a set of red shoes.
Favourite Hour By Martyn Waites is a change of pace, a sort of paint by numbers peaceful television show.
I Want You by Alex Segura is set in Miami’s Cuban community and is a different twist on a gangster story, told through the point of view of a would-be novelist.
Watching the Detectives by Mary Anna Evans is in some ways as the title suggests he most classic police procedural of these tales, but it has a dark twist.
Opportunity by Reece Hirsch is a story about a law student who really wants to go to film school and what he learns about how to get what he wants in Hollywood.
My Aim is True by Gary Phillips is all about returning to the neighborhood and still being underestimated.
Accidents Will Happen by Naomi Rand is a story about a rural bar on a snowy evening and the random drinkers who wander in.
Permanent Lent by Peter Spiegelman is all about how rough it can be to deal with the rich and privileged.
The Beat by Raymond Benson is all about the club scene in the late Seventies and the folks that find themselves there even if they are like a fish out of water.
Our Little Angel by Mark Billingham is a story about a lady in a bar in a white dress who doesn’t drink, but beware you are being warned to stay away.