A few days ago I mentioned that I'd bought the new anthology BEAT TO A PULP: HARDBOILED and was eager to read it. Well, now I have, and the verdict is that editors David Cranmer and Scott D. Parker have put together a really fine collection of stories that is well worth your time and money.
The book begins with a good introduction by Ron Scheer about the origins of the hardboiled genre and proceeds to thirteen stories of various sorts of crime, mayhem, and suspense. Some stand-outs for me:
"Obstruction" by Glenn Gray is a suitably graphic story about crime in an autopsy room that manages to be funny, gross, and violent at the same time. Gray's writing has a unique voice, always a good thing.
"Ric with No K" by Patricia Abbott is another story with an excellent voice. If there's a better short story writer around these days than Patti Abbott, I haven't run across him or her.
"Black-Eyed Susan" by Thomas Pluck is short and mean and well-written. I don't think I've read anything by this author before, but I'll be on the lookout for his name now.
And my favorite story in the anthology, "Bull's-Eye View" by Wayne D. Dundee, a novelette featuring Joe Hannibal, one of the most enduring and appealing PI characters of the past 25 years. This is the sort of story for which the word "hardboiled" was invented: fast, gritty, with good characters and a fully-realized setting, the spiritual descendant of Hammett's Continental Op stories.
There's 'way too much good short fiction being published these days for me to keep up with all of it, but BEAT TO A PULP: HARDBOILED provides a great sampling of some of the best authors. Highly recommended.