You probably remember when BOLO Books hosted the cover reveal for Murder-A-Go-Go’s last year, so I wanted to remind you that this collection will be available soon.
Murder-A-Go-Go’s is the new music-inspired anthology edited by Holly West. As with other examples of this style, writers from all corners of the crime-fiction spectrum have submitted short stories inspired by the oeuvre of a particular musical act – in this case, the iconic and revolutionary girl group The Go-Go’s.
The collection begins with a major coup: a forward written by Jane Wiedlin, one of the founding members of The Go-Go’s. Turns out that Wiedlin is quite the bibliophile and her ode to stories in general (and these stories in particular) is touching, inspiring, and heartfelt. Follow that with Holly West’s brief Introduction, in which she explains why the profits from the collection will be donated to Planned Parenthood and readers are sure to be pumped for a stellar collection of kick-ass crime stories.
Every story in this anthology will find fans among the vast and diverse sea of crime fiction readers. I could have easily written about any (or all of) the stories, but I have decided to focus on a few of my favorites:
Our Lips are Sealed by Lori Rader-Day
Lori Rader-Day continues to impress with her ability to vary her writing – always exploring new tones, styles, and sub-genres. With this noir nugget, she turns a teenage sleepover into a cutting exposé on society’s habit of pushing girls to grow up too fast, but she wisely avoids trying to provide solutions. This may not be an easy read, but ultimately it is an extremely important one.
You Thought by Susanna Calkins
In this realistically melodramatic tale from Susanna Calkins, the purchase of a new home becomes a nightmare for one couple, the level of which only betrayal and revenge can remedy. Anyone who has ever dealt with a real estate agent will be able to relate to this on some level, but hopefully few of us encounter true sociopaths.
This Town by Greg Herren
Greg Herren taps into the current zeitgeist to give readers his New Orleans-based story. A night out on the town during Mardi Gras becomes a test of sisterhood when a trauma from the past threatens to infect the present.
Fading Fast by Sarah M. Chen
Sarah M. Chen also provides a timely story that will stick with readers long after the final word. When legal avenues fail her, a pregnant Sherry and her boyfriend Justin set out to get their own brand of vengeance, but the cost might be more than Sherry ever believed possible.
We Don’t Get Along by Diane Vallere
Diane Vallere’s story corners the market on the edgy-cozy. A married pair of burglars just might despise each other more than they enjoy the spoils of their crimes. Facing off against a past-her-prime 80’s pop diva may be the last heist they attempt as a couple – but will either of them be able to avoid jail time?
Beatnik Beach by Patricia Abbott
In this unique story from Patricia Abbott, the challenges of parenting and the regrets of the past merge during a vacation day for three generations of women in the same family. As she typically does, Patti finds a unique way into the crime elements of her story and that makes it feel fresh and vital.
Johnny Are You Queer? By Travis Richardson
When the boyfriend of Lori Zider’s first love shows up on her doorstep to tell her Johnny is dead, it’s the mysterious envelope he bestows upon her that unexpectedly gives her life purpose. Lori embodies the amateur sleuth mold and readers will be eager to follow this tale to the thrilling and action-packed ending.
The Whole World Lost its Head by Josh Stallings
The depth of world-building that Josh Stallings is able to achieve in the limited page count of this dystopian mini-epic is staggering. Surprisingly, this futuristic story is probably the most traditional piece of crime writing in the collection – a procedural gem. I would eagerly read a full novel set in this universe.
Lust for Love by Jessica Ellis Laine
This story of Lulita Conchita García de Bergen, a wronged wife taking destiny into her own hands would have been entertaining on its own, but because Jessica Ellis Laine adds all the clever references to the 1980s to the mix, it is even more wickedly delightful. Everything from C.H.U.D and cabbage patch kids to “the clapper,” Guess clothing, and iconic slang gets a shout out next to an inspired reference to Belinda Carlisle. Thankfully, having this much fun in a serious crime story hasn’t been outlawed.
You Can’t Walk in Your Sleep by Nadine Nettmann
Annabelle hasn’t been able to sleep since her husband passed away. Wandering her house at night, she notices her nearest neighbor also pacing by the window. Or does she? Nadine Nettmann updates Rear Window for our modern generation of feminist “s-heroes” and will keep readers glued to the page eager to know what is going on.
Skidmarks on My Heart by Eric Beetner
When a couple meets after being involved in a car crash, their intense sexual connection leads to a relationship which leads to jealousy which leads to…well, I’ll let you find out. This noir tale is dark and gritty with a nice surprise reversal near the end.
Unforgiven by Hilary Davidson
After her husband commits suicide, Cassie discovers a pattern of questionable attitudes held by her powerful father. It seems as though he likes to be in control and it’s just possible that Cassie’s husband stumbled on the secret of just how far this man would go to have his way. The only problem for Cassie’s father is that he also likes to be doted on. Few authors do sweet revenge as well as Hilary Davidson.
Buy Links: Murder-A-Go-Go’s edited by Holly West
Thank you for such a thorough review! I’m glad you saw in these stories what I see. Thank you for the work you do, Kristopher. I appreciate it.
My pleasure, Holly. I really could have written something about most of the stories, but by focusing on my favorites, I think my enjoyment of the collection really comes through. Excellent work!
It does, and that thrills me to no end.
Cannot wait to read this. Thanks for a great review.
Wow–How fun does this look! Can’t wait to read it. And thanks for the terrific review, Kristopher!
Thanks Leslie. There are moments that are “fun,” but it’s also surprisingly dark when compared to the pop-y nature of the inspiration.
Thanks so much, Kristopher! I’m so glad you liked the book (and my story, of course)!
Thank you! What a wonderful review!