Steve Weddle is a top crime writer and also the criminal master mind behind NEEDLE – A MAGAZINE OF NOIR. I was lucky enough to sneak a story into the splendid first issue and last week the postmen cameth and broughteth issue two. And, as Frank Carson would say, it’s a cracker.
The magazine continues to look great, thanks to Creative Director John Hornor Jacobs, and there’s another smashing bunch of stories – some from writers whose work I know and some who are unfamiliar to me. So, I’ll pick out a few favourites.
Ray Banks’ wonderful ‘The Great Pretender’ is the first story in the magazine. It’s a fantastically well executed tale of a man who is in the gutter and is looking at,well, the gutter.Sad, hard hitting and funny, it’s a prime cut of Ray Banks, a writer who seems to be getting better and better; Stephen Blackmore’s ‘For The Children ‘ is a tense tale of sibling rivalry which lives up to it’s whip crack opening; Frank Bill’s ‘Cold, Hard, Love’ is a full flavoured taster for his upcoming hillbilly noir novel DONNYBROOK and is as brilliantly written as you would expect from Mr. Bill; David Cranmer’s ‘The Sins Of Maynard Shipley’ is a classic twisty tale with a modern edge; Julie Summerell’s short & sharp ‘Under The Rug’ has echoes of Richard Ford and Joyce Carole Oates; Nigel Bird’s ‘Beat On The Brat’ is a very clever and touching piece of multi POV storytelling. The collection ends with Chris F. Holm’s ‘The Hitter’ which is hard- boiled proof that Holm will be very, very big one day.