Coast to Coast Noir: From Sea to Shining Sea
Tim Stanton goes around finding people for a fee. A source gives him a name and some money, and he uses his contacts to find the missing person. Bill Keller was the man who handed him his card and asked that he find someone for him. Mary Singleton was the missing young girl, and her parents were informed that he was helping to find her but just what was the motive behind asking for his help? To get information, he used Bill Keller’s card to gain entrance and get people to talk. But, sometimes things do not go as planned and Tim is about to learn the true meaning of lies, betrayal and deception. Ken Dorsey was the real client that Bill Keller supposedly sent to help find this young girl. However, not everything turns out the way you would expect. Thinking he was on to something and might find her a caption in the newspaper takes his breath away and from this point on Tim finds himself going in a downward spiral. Fired from his job at the DMV, evicted by his landlord, hoping to find this elusive Dorsey who disappeared and haunted by the face of Mary Singleton, Tim’s life turns into a one-way street going nowhere. Alone, with no real prospects in sight he teams up with a group of homeless hippies and finds himself not only alone, haunted by Dorsey’s face and seeing it wherever he goes, guilt from the death of Singleton and the reader and Tim learns the meaning of the term: NO WHERE MAN as author Paul D. Marks takes readers along with Tim on a collision course of deception, fear and loneliness.
Pandora’s Box is the next story in this collection. Each story in the collection including this one has one character that is betrayed, fooled and unfortunately learns the hard way before coming to terms with their lack of foresight before committing to a deed they would later regret. Daryl and Brooke formed a relationship that would take her out of her comfort zone and leaving school to please him. A drug dealer and falling for a scam to deliver something that would properly take a life, he and Brooke were asked as pickpockets he would be approached by someone named Sam Unger in a hotel in order to take a badge away from Dr. Lundquist and make sure that he is removed from his project. The badge would be placed in a suitcase that would have some type of radiation in it causing it to turn red and then somehow they would have to give it back to him without his knowledge. Practice is not always perfect and although Brooke was the one who had to distract this man the result will shock you. Money is at the root of this and Daryl thought he was going to make a huge score as he received quite a huge down payment thinking the rest would come. New Mexico is the setting and the end result was they were successful in part one of the mission but in the interim Brooke’s mother found out she dropped out of college, the money was sent to Brooke’s account and from this point on things get tense when she confronted her daughter but Daryl wins round one.
A series of encounters, Daryl goes to collect his money and the result is not what you expect. What happens to him? Did he betray her? Will she finally get that college degree? Brooke will always worry about radiation and will wonder if she releases the curse that changed her life by opening the deadly Pandora’s Box. Some characters never see the truth and are blindsided by greed.
The next story Sins of the Father is truly sad as many do not understand what a transgender must deal with when someone learns and reveals the fact that Mikki was once Mitch. Secrets have a way of coming out and Mikki finds herself the brunt of someone’s anger as she is seeing someone named Trey and the result when he learns the truth is sad. Although she was trying to be honest when he realizes she used to be a man his reaction is violent. The result leads her father on a quest to handle the situation and meeting her friend Christian enlightens him to a point until tragedy strikes. With a family that is connected and powerful although he beat her up quite badly, approaching Trey was not what Duncan her father should have done. When Mikki winds up dead and Duncan promises the police, they can handle it what he does will shock readers as a father will not let his daughter’s death go unavenged. Author Jaden Terrell goes deep inside the mind of a father who will do anything to take aim at the one person who took his daughter’s life but at what expense. Tension filled, told in the voice of Duncan so you hear his every thought and experience what he does firsthand, this story does reveal the true meaning of SINS OF THE FATHERS.
Next Dennis Palumbo’s story titled Steel City Blues, we meet Eddie who spent four years behind bars, his brother Frank that shows up out of nowhere and a woman named Marie. The story opens where Eddie is sitting on top on his usual spot on the roof and explains why the police will come looking for him. A woman with a plan, two brothers who were blindsided and one man named Frank Harrington a foreman who belittled his workers, embarrassed them but beneath it all he was cunning, conniving and had a plan you won’t believe. Once again the man characters are blindsided by lust, greed and passion and do not see the result coming. What exactly was he supposed to do and would the money help for his mother’s operation? The end does not justify the means as the reader will learn what exactly was Frank’s plan and how will they pull it off? Filled with fraud, deception, deceit, corruption and blindsiding both Eddie and Frank the result well hear Eddie’s words before they come for him.
Each story is filled with sadness, tragedy and each character experiences death in a different way. A story by Michael Mallory titled The Dark Side of Eden another by Tom MacDonald Nashua River Floater. The titles alone are eerie and will give you the chills. A fabulous collection of well written noir short stories told in different settings with characters that work in meat packing plants, feed companies, markets and not very lucrative jobs causing their downfalls and falling for the need to complete jobs that most would turn down. A superb collection for readers that want something odd, different and dangerous.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews