I decided to step out of my comfort zone and take a look at a completely different genre: crime fiction. I believe that crime fiction and science fiction can get along quite well so I had no choice but to get the two most important magazines in the area, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine (AHMM) and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (EQMM).
Not that I have ever read them nor ever opened a crime fiction book before, but I plan to make them a consistent part of my monthly reading queue.
AHMM is known as the "lesser EQMM", in that its quality is commonly understood as inferior to the other magazine. However, thanks to many new authors AHMM seems to have a very important component: freshness.
Let’s dive into the October 2013 issue.
“Faraway Nearby” by David Edgerly Gates is a crime story that hints of modern noir. Two burned bodies are found inside a car. Since they are located inside an Indian reservation, the FBI is called to intervene. Special Agent Bevilacquia and local police force Pete will investigate and even shoot some bullets. Good start.
In the introduction to this review I wrote that sci-fi and crime fiction can be joyfully mixed together. I am very glad to find an example of this in Tony Richards’ “The Hunting Party”. In a futuristic Africa which is now ruled under a fair federalist government, a Nobel Prize Winner is plotting against his own government. This story is noteworthy because the sci-fi element exists but is not substantial enough to make it hard-core sci-fi. Good read.
“Under Cap. Ste. Clare” by Jas. R. Petrin starts as a "Murder, she wrote" meets "Father Brown" episode but quickly becomes action and conspiracy packed. The beginning is somewhat slow, but the story quickly recovers. It’s a disappearance/murder mystery.
"Two Men, One Gun" by Robert Lopresti is a short hostage story. A technical writer, Britell, is held hostage at gunpoint by a guy that wants to be called Richard. He wants to tell Britell a story. Nice read.
“Dress Blues” by Chris Muessig is the only story in this issue that couldn’t keep me interested enough. It’s actually well written, but I didn’t like the pace of the unfolding of the events. It’s a crime story based in the Vietnam Era where an African-American is justly/unjustly charged of a crime.
At last we have some good white collar crimes in “The Gypsy Ring” by James L. Ross. It’s a clever story about Wall Street, illegal trade, millions of dollars and technology. Not bad at all.
Final comment: I’d like to underline that I truly enjoyed reading this issue of AHMM.