Some time ago, Jimm Juree was an up-and-coming crime reporter for Chiang Mai’s paper of record, and felt that she was going places. Unfortunately, her mother had other ideas on the destination, and packed most of their odd and contentious family down to the southernmost part of Thailand — there to manage a dilapidated holiday resort in Maprao for reasons known only to her. Since then, Jimm’s writing has consisted of English translation, counter-scamming online charlatans, and the occasional fluff piece for the local rag.
Given that she’d much rather be writing about crime, death, and other mysterious happenings, one might think that it’s a good thing that the world seems intent on sending them her way. Unfortunately, this has the habit of making her a target — something she’s had some experience with by now. But she at least has the consolation that, if her wits can’t keep her ahead of the perpetrators, at least her contentious family has her back.
Which is a good thing, right about now, as what started as a fluff piece — interviewing a European author who’s settled in their neck of the woods — has percolated into a potentially deadly mystery.
When Junior Bender was a young man, just starting his criminal career, he had an on-the-job run-in with an older, more experienced burglar: the one and only Herbie Mott. The guy could have just told Junior to scram, or else set him up for a fall, but for some reason he took the kid under his wing. And, over time, he taught the up-and-coming crook the tricks of his trade, both practical and esoteric, and become something of father figure to Bender — maybe the only real father he had, as things would turn out.
But the long and short of it is that Bender knows Herbie pretty darn well, as there’s a lot of the old man’s style in him. So when “executive crook” Wattles (of the many blow-up dolls) shows up at Bender’s hotel room, creepy hitman in tow, and “asks” him to find out who broke into his office — or else prove it wasn’t him — he’s got a pretty good idea who was actually responsible.
Problem is, when he goes to ask Herbie what he thought he was doing, he finds the old man dead — murdered quite painfully, in fact. Read more…
Somewhere in America, there’s a rich man who turns the less fortunate into killers.
He’s got skills, a pattern, and a plan, this high-tech Svengali. Give him your poor, shattered castaways and he can transform them into something broken, obedient, and lethal. Before long he’ll have them snapping to attention and doing whatever they’re told, because he’s the only one who can make the visions go away.
Visions that can shatter a man’s mind, and leave him just south of human — perfect for his murderous purposes.
Unsolved mysteries. Everyone in law enforcement knows they are a sad fact of life. Every detective has a number of cases he or she wishes they could have had more time with, or just one more, telling piece of evidence. But, sooner or later, even the best of detectives knows that they have to put the past in the rear window, and live for the case load of today.
However, some mysteries don’t lie quiet. And some demand their due.
It’s a nasty day in Oslo when a police officer is found, his head mashed to unrecognizable pulp by a blunt object. It’s a sickening crime as it is, but soon the police realize that a similar murder was committed in that exact same spot, some years ago.
And they also realize that the dead officer had been assigned to that very same, unsolved case. Read more…
It should go without saying that being captured by pirates is never an easy thing. The company is questionable, the conditions are terrible, and you never know when they’ll tire of having you around and toss you over the side, or worse.
So when Owen Wedgewood — chef to the late Lord Ramsey — is bundled up with the rest of the loot when Mad Hannah Mabbot comes to call, he can only expect the worst. However, it just so happens that this pirate queen has a taste for the finer things in life, and she negotiates a deal at swordpoint: every Sunday, Owen shall cook for her a fine meal, worthy of his late employer’s table. Should he succeed, he wins another week of life.
Should he fail… well, there’s always “theater paint.”