Killer Nashville Noir: Cold-Blooded, a Killer Nashville Anthology
Killer Nashville is an international thriller, mystery, crime literature writers’ conference held annually in downtown Nashville, TN. The conference draws some of the genre’s best writers to mix and mingle with aspiring authors and fans.
This year, for the first time, conference founder, Clay Stafford, produced a collection of twenty short stories for the anthology Cold-Blooded. He’s pulled together such well-known thriller writers as, Jeffery Deaver, Anne Perry, Robert Dugoni, Heywood Gould, Maggie Toussaint, Mary Burton, Donald Bain, and Jefferson Bass. But the collection also includes many equally talented but lesser known writers, and it is works of seven of those people that I would like to introduce you to.
First up is, Kissin’ Don’t Tell, by Catriona McPherson. “So this,” the doc thought, “was what a happy marriage looked like at the end.” This serves as the first impression when an ambulance crew is called to the home of an elderly couple as the doc surveys a table set for the couple’s sixtieth wedding anniversary. In a dialogue with the new widow he learns a little of the couple’s life together, but he never learns about the recipe for that final meal.
Catriona McPherson lives in northern California with a black cat and a scientist, and served as the 2015 president of Sisters in Crime. She is the author of the “Dandy Gilver” detective series, and the award-winning novel, As She Left It.
Ripple, by Baron R. Birtcher, harkens tales of James Bond and Jason Bourne. Set on the Big Island of Hawaii, Mike Travis gets an unexpected visit from a former Navy Seal, Rex Blackwood, who once saved Travis’ life. Rex needs a very big favor and it’s Travis’ obligation to help. The action and government secret they protect are worthy of any Fleming novel.
Baron R. Birtcher is a professional musician and founder of an independent record label and artist management company. He has received critical acclaim for his “Mike Travis” series, Roadhouse Blues, Ruby Tuesday, and Angels Fall.
In Rich Talk, C. Hope Clark crafts a delightful tale, offered in three different points of view, as to how the super rich solve their martial problems in a language uniquely their own. Among their peers and their servants there are just some things that obviously are understood, and don’t need to be spelled out.
Mailman, by Jonathan Stone, offers truth in the expression, no good deed goes unpunished. For thirty-five years, “George Waite’s red, white, and blue mail truck has lurched from mailbox to mailbox with the utter predictability of a brightly painted figure on a cuckoo clock.” When a newcomer makes changes to his property that annoy the neighbors on his mail route, George takes it upon himself to help his longtime customers by using the U.S. Mail to create problems for the detestable newcomer.
Lullabies and Lighting Storms, by Dana Chamblee Carpenter is a unique gift to this collection of stories of crime. Cassie, the single mother to Sybil, doesn’t know any traditional lullabies, so when Sybil comes down with “the colic” she can only sing what she knows, the songs of James Taylor and Carole King. Cassie sings them until her voice grows hoarse. A spike in Sybil’s fever results in her becoming a “bubble baby.” For seven years people are drawn to the small town of Gideon to study or gawk at the baby in the bubble, and then like an Old Testament prophet, Sybil’s clipped cryptic phrases take on a special meaning to those that hear them.
Dana Chamblee Carpenter’s debut novel, Bohemian Gospel, won Killer Nashville’s 2014 Claymore Award. She teaches creative writing and American Literature at a university in Nashville, TN.
Peace, Sometimes, by Jaden Terrell provides at least one answer to the question of why women fall in love and marry men in prison. Adrienne Cooper is blonde, beautiful, smart, and the capable lawyer to serial killer Waylon Bayard. Adrienne is pursuing an appeal for her murderous client. Seeking to overturn the conviction due to Waylon’s diminished capacity, guards deliver him to the psychologist’s office for his pre-appeal evaluation. And then things go terribly wrong…or do they?
In The Virgo Affair, by Daco, Jordan Jakes is one cool character as she calmly walks away to hail a taxi after witnessing an assignation at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Jakes is a CIA operative working on a covert operation involving China, Iran, and Russia. At play is the source code for an experimental laser capable of vaporizing dangerous space debris, and useful for destroying things other than space garbage. As typical of well-crafted spy stories, no one is who they seem to be, and chaos erupts at a D.C. bar when the FBI, the CIA, the Chinese, the Pakistanis, and American Jihadists converge.
Daco is the pseudonym for a writer and attorney from Huntsville, AL. Her international-spy thriller, The Libra Affair was an Amazon best seller.
Cold-Blooded is available on Amazon and makes a perfect Christmas gift for the mystery-reader in your life, or, even better, a gift for yourself. You might find a new favorite author who is worth curling up with before a warm cozy fireplace and reading one of their blood-chilling novels.