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Killer Nashville Noir: Cold Blooded

Edited by Clay Stafford

Diversion Publishing
$19.99
ISBN 978-1626818781
Published October 27, 2017

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Killer Nashville Noir: Cold-Blooded

Review by Clay Snellgrove

Killer Nashville Noir: Cold-Blooded, the first annual anthology of short fiction inspired by the Killer Nashville Writing Conference and online magazine, is a treat for any fan of crime and mystery fiction. The twenty stories making up the collection bleed from the pens of established writers who boast impressive resumes. Editor Clay Stafford lays out this smorgasbord of quick, exciting reading, anchoring the roller coaster of suspense, intrigue, twists, and blood with his own story, “Savage Gulf.” This story more than holds its own with those that come before.

Every story in this collection puts forth some heat, admirably showcasing the writer’s specific flavor. Like tapas, most of these shorts will give readers a taste that will have them googling the authors’ novel length works, adding many to their “must-read” lists.

Like any appetizer menu, Cold-Blooded boasts a couple dishes that could stand alone, the prime cuts. International best-selling author Jeffery Deaver delivers with “Repressed”, a tight thirty-page piece revealing why college professor Sam Fogel should have never sought counseling for his mid-life malaise. Every bit as gripping as Stephen King’s best shorts, “Repressed” is well worth a second read even after its disturbing conclusion is known.

Robert Dugoni and Paula Gail Benson team up to write “A Matter of Honor”. Without the blood and guts that paint the pages of the rest of Cold-Blooded, this satisfying mystery featuring agent B.A. Azevedo has the feel of a much longer piece. Readers will want this to be the start of a series starring the South Carolina sleuth.

Beginning the anthology amidst the decomposing corpses on the Body Farm with “In Plain Sight” by the writing duo Jefferson Bass is a great move, setting the tone and making it clear that this collection was born in Tennessee. Blake Fontenay starts his intriguing historical mystery in front of President Andrew Johnson, and Jon Jefferson shows the readers every ounce of life-supporting fluid in the human body in his story “Giving Blood.”

The Killer Nashville-inspired short-story collection would not be complete without a country-western singer killing for a number-one song. Eyre Price’s “Sad Like a Country Song” takes what could be a hokey premise and crafts something cool. “Sad Like a Country Song” will make readers smile because it’s so darn good! Readers will be glad to know this anthology is set to be a yearly event.


 

 

Clay Snellgrove is the author of The Ball Player. He’s a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University. A former professional baseball player, Clay holds an MFA in creative writing from Converse College.