Pulp Consumption: Tough 2 (Crime Stories)
One of the unexpected side benefits to starting Broadsword and Blasters was discovering the plethora of other short fiction being published, especially by small independent presses. One of those happens to be Tough, headed by Rusty Barnes. Tough is primarily an online journal, but supported periodically with an printed collection, and the second one has recently been released. While some of the names were familiar to me (Thomas Pluck, Alec Cizak, Chris McGinley, William Soldan), I came to the majority of writers fresh. Tough goes for a no-frills approach. No editor’s note. No writer bios. No illustrations to mark the stories. All you get is the text.
Michael Bracken kicks things off with “Itsy Bitsy Spider” with
a private detective, Morris, his tattooist friend, and the trouble a young
woman brings into his life. The way Bracken weaves the detective’s work life in
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