Thursday, February 24, 2011

Richard Godwin’s APOSTLE RISING

You all know Richard. You all know his short fiction. Now for something a little different.

Cat Currie at New Books says: “A novel that is a must for fans of Val McDermid’s Tony Hill and Ian Rankin’s Rebus... Richard Godwin managed [Apostle Rising] with ease and kept me hooked from start to finish.”

And Bookgasm’s Bruce Grossman writes: “Richard Godwin’s debut crime novel, Apostle Rising, is a dark police procedural in the vein of other current UK writers, in that it does an amazing job of sucking in the reader right away and never letting up...For a debut crime novel, it makes a great introduction to Goodwin’s style and talent for prose. Be on the lookout for hopefully many more.”

Check out the video, order and buy the book. You won’t regret anything except that at some point the story does come to an end.

Monday, February 14, 2011

New Piece Of Art

By Walter Conley.

How do you like it?

A Twist Of Noir 661 - Kathleen A. Ryan


As a rookie cop and a newlywed, Doug swore he’d never face the “bimbo-basement” dilemma.

Fifteen years later, however, while driving home on a sweltering night after a weekend tryst, he recalled the warning uttered by his salty field training officer: “Every married cop who chases tail or fools around with a relief point bimbo eventually faces the same fate. The old lady finds out, gets the house, the kids, and eventually collects half his pension. The cop ends up living in a dingy basement apartment — it’s all he can afford!”

To illustrate his point, the old-timer had held out his palms to imitate a balancing scale. “You must weigh your options,” he advised, raising his hands like a seesaw and repeating, “Bimbo. Basement. Bimbo. Basement.”

Doug listened to Porter Wagoner sing, “The Cold Hard Facts of Life,” and chuckled — as he, too, was heading home a day earlier than his wife expected — although he wasn’t stopping for any champagne first.

The ominous-looking clouds darkened the moonlit sky. The humidity reminded Doug why he vacations every August (besides, of course, spending time with his kids): when the mercury rises, so does crime. People get heat aggravation, and tempers flare.

Doug spotted an unfamiliar pickup in his driveway and assumed it belonged to one of his wife’s friends. He parked on the street near the honeysuckle bushes, which filled the stagnant air with its sweet scent. The steady churning of window air conditioners in the distance couldn’t muffle the repetitive chirping of crickets.

Approaching the shiny red Ford, he realized the engine was running. The passenger door flew open. His wife, half-naked, tumbled out and screamed, “Rape!”

The driver pulled into reverse.

Emotions raw, the veteran cop fired his Glock towards the fleeing felon, who crashed into the split-rail fence. Doug jumped into the truck, reached over the slumped body, and threw the vehicle into park.

He glanced at the perp’s face — and gasped.

“Jesse? What the — ?” Doug frantically searched for a pulse on the lifeless body of his former partner.

Sobbing, Tammy scrambled into her clothes. Her flushed complexion quickly paled.

Doug struggled to find the words to confront the pair, although only one could reply. “This wasn’t rape — how could you?”

“I panicked!” she cried. “I didn’t think you’d shoot him...”

“You didn’t think, period! You know I always carry — it’s as if you pulled the trigger yourself!”

Tammy admitted her grave mistake to the responding officers, claiming rape to cover up the illicit affair. Her lie cost a cop — a family friend for more than a decade — his life.

Her soft brown curls clung to her tear-streaked face, when the cops placed the cuffs on her. “Your reckless actions caused Jesse’s death,” snapped the arresting officer.


Homicide Detective Tom Walker, an Academy classmate of Doug’s, arrived at the scene. “I’m sorry about what transpired here tonight, buddy.”

“My head is spinning,” Doug said. We’ve lost one of our own — and it’s my fault.”

“The grand jury may not see it that way; however, Tammy is probably looking at time for involuntary manslaughter. I need to get a statement from you. Who’s with the kids?”

“My neighbor’s inside, but my sister’s on the way.”

“Crime Scene will take photos and bag your clothes. When I’m done here, I’ll notify Jesse’s wife. Have a uniform drive you to Headquarters — I’ll meet you there.”

“Thanks, Tom.”

Drenched in sweat and blood, Doug went into the house to gather clothes.


“They’re still asleep,” his elderly neighbor said.

“Thanks for coming over to watch the kids, I appreciate it.”

“Your kids are like grandkids to me. Call anytime,” she said before leaving.

Doug called his girlfriend, using the prepaid cell phones he had bought for them.

“I have good news and great news,” Doug whispered.

“What’s the good news?” she asked.

“My wife won’t be contesting the divorce.”

“Terrific! Now, what could possibly trump that?” she asked.

“You can call off the hit man.”

BIO: Kathleen A. Ryan is a retired 21 year veteran of the Suffolk County Police Department on Long Island. She blogs at Women Of Mystery and is working on a true crime memoir. Her story, ‘Playing with Matches’ was published in W.W. Norton’s Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories 25 Words or Fewer, Edited by Robert Swartwood, November 2010.

A Twist Of Noir 660 - Charlie Stella



Quote by Gustav Mahler (scribbled by the composer on the score of his Tenth Symphony)

Sarah never understood why I listened to Mahler whenever we had sex and I refused to tell her.

I arrived at her apartment determined to finally end my humiliation. I shaved, showered and then listened to Mahler’s Tenth Symphony while I lay naked on her bed. I closed my eyes to the scherzo and dreamed of Mahler and his unfaithful wife, Alma, and the scene it must have been when her lover’s letter reached the man of the house; that single moment of terror when one recognizes he’s been simultaneously robbed and raped of his dignity; he’s been made a fool and is unlucky enough to find out for just how long it has been going on.

I must have fallen asleep because when I opened my eyes, Sarah was standing in front of her dresser dabbing L’Air du temps on her bush for when I would go down on her later. She wore a black silk nightdress that barely covered her rump. I grew hard looking at her ass cheeks when the material pulled up as she leaned forward to reach for something. I imagined another man getting the same view and closed my eyes; watching Sarah was so much easier when my eyes were closed.

I knew she had been with somebody new the moment she leaned across my body to take me in her mouth.

“Wait,” I said.

She stopped. “What?” she said.

She had approached me from behind and to the right, her arms outstretched while she arched her trunk. Sarah gave me head one of three ways, none of which included the new approach. I stared at her until she was uncomfortable and forced a smile.

“What?” she repeated.

Something was amiss; I could see it in her nervous smile. I guided her away from me with my right hand. “Since when do you start like that?”

Sarah forced a chuckle. I continued staring until she stood up. It took her another moment to compose herself and then she was angry.

“You want this or not?”

It was at that precise moment when my suspicion was confirmed; Sarah had a new lover.

“Maybe,” I said. “I don’t know.”

There followed another nervous chuckle that turned to more anger when I didn’t reply.

“Yes or no?” she said.

Her question was a second stab to my ego. She was anxious to get it over with; I was in the way. I was also too tangled in thought to answer. Her posture suddenly deflated and she looked at me with clear disdain.

“Hey!” she said.

I was wondering if she would be meeting with whoever he was later in the day. I pulled her to me. Our lips met with force before I stuck my tongue deep inside her mouth. She responded in kind and we kissed passionately awhile before I let her move down the length of my torso, one of the three ways she usually began.

It didn’t take long because of the images she had left me to conjure. Sex could never be as good as I saw it in my head; I saw her stretching across different men to take them the same way she had started with me. I saw her eyes closing as she took them full in her mouth. I could hear her hum the way she did as they responded and before I knew it I was there.

Sarah’s infidelity had left me fighting a bittersweet battle from the time I first learned of her cheating on me less than six months before we were married. Back then I had been insane with jealousy, anger and fear; rage and carnal excitement had been seared into my being. Images of my fiancĂ© with other men were both excruciating and sublime.

Ultimately they left me wanting more.

Now Sarah made her way to the bathroom to spit me out. When she returned the gun was already in my hand. I fired.

BIO: Charlie Stella needs no introduction. The author of outstanding novels such as Jimmy Benchpress, Mafiya and Johnny Porno, he is, in this editor’s opinion, part of noir royalty. More knowledge of Mr. Stella can be gleaned at

A Twist Of Noir 659 - Kieran Shea


“That smarmy looking prick over there be the one who left with Suzie, your cousin,” Donohue said.

Donohue eased his meaty presence back behind the bar as Timbo creased his copy of the New York Daily News. Timbo slurped down a bitter knot of warm coffee and gave Donohue a nod of thanks. Donohue left the keys and towels on the bar and slipped past the taps into the bar’s galley kitchen, shooing his Guatemalans out the back. Good guy that Donohue. Timbo owed him one.

Timbo’s eyes drifted across the ranks of bottles before him and then took in the mid-September afternoon light slashing past that fat shamrock in the middle of the bar’s front window. Sputtering shadows from a curb-choked tree shivered on the glass and on the white tiled floor.

God how Timbo used to love Fall. September used to mean better things when he was a kid coming up. Football pick-up games in the street instead of stick, Rangers season around the corner, chasing all that fresh high school poon. Now September meant the Yankees and the Mets had probably screwed the pooch and everybody itchy remembering how a perfect blue morning years ago got yanked the fuck apart.

Timbo eased off his barstool and walked to the bar’s front door. A quick glance right and then left assessed an empty sidewalk. Not that anyone cared anyway. Anything went down in Donohue’s, unless you were a total idiot or an honest cop, you knew to turn both eyes blind.

He slipped the marked key into the top lock, twisted, and then he shot the bolt below.

Timbo half-expected the kid to look up but he was texting something into his faggy, little cell phone. Plus the kid had ear buds in, the white wires snaking to a player stashed in his t-shirt’s pocket like a forbidden deck of smokes. Spent a lot of cash on ink, all artistic-like, a veritable neon sign saying I’m a pussy. Skinny arms. Piercings. What did his cousin Suzie see in this peg-legged, droopy hair doofus Timbo had no idea. Didn’t matter. Family is family and those piercings would be the third thing to go. After the teeth, after the bones.

Timbo pocketed the keys and took the corner two stools away, standing. Knocked twice on the rail.

“’Scuse me...”

The kid looked up from his cell phone and uncorked an ear, “Yeah?”

“You know what time it is?”

“Uh, the time? Yeah. It’s just after two-thirty.”

Timbo pointed to the half-empty pint of draft and cocked a grin, “Kinda early.”

The kid set his phone down on the bar and coughed into his fist, “Well, I’m kind of thirsty.”

Timbo nodded, “Ain’t that the truth...”

The second ear bud was tugged free. “I like to stop off somewhere for a pop, you know, before I head in for my shift. Eases the pain of going in.”

Timbo turned his head and checked the window again, “My old man always said no one should begrudge a working man a drink.”

“Word that.”

Christ, thought Timbo. Another transplant talking chocolate drop. Talk like that? I can drop you off in a nice little piece of Bed-Stuy where they will positively love you.

“Where’s work then?”

“How’s that?”

“Your work.”

“Oh. You mean what do I do?” Smarmy prick swallowed an inch of his beer, “It’s going to sound lame but I’m kind of a waiter over at Ruby Tuesday’s. I mean, I’m looking for something better, but I got to pay the bills, right? Just moved up here from Georgia a few month ago. Went to Tech. Business. Tough as fucking nails out there.”

“Don’t I know it. That Ruby Tuesday, is that the one over on Seventh Avenue?”

“Yeah, why? Fuckin’ hell hole. You know it?”

Timbo wrapped his hands in the bar towels Donohue gave him. “Nah, not really. But somebody’s going to have to give them a call.”

BIO: Jersey born writer Kieran Shea scratches at the eight ball of crime fiction and his character Charlie Byrne has graced ATON plenty of times before. He blogs the struggle and other musings at BLACK IRISH BLARNEY.

A Twist Of Noir 658 - Kevin Michaels


It was a little after ten on a quiet night but Ice didn’t care about the time. Ten o’clock or eleven o’clock didn’t matter much either way.

All he needed was a couple of hours to establish an alibi in case somebody showed up with questions and search warrants.

Ice had his Nine tucked inside a sweatshirt pocket and his hood pulled low over his head as he moved along the sidewalk. The street was quiet.

A few heads poked out apartment windows, a couple of corner boys huddled together sharing cigarettes in the doorway of the Korean grocery store, and a hip-hop beat blasted from a radio perched on somebody’s second story window ledge. A few blocks away a siren wailed but the sound faded as the car raced towards another street.

None of that was important.

A neighborhood kid named Derrick who had been Ice’s cellmate in county lock-up a few years back had been hit while he was standing on the corner talking to friends. Nobody saw it coming. A dark blue Honda Civic had rolled quietly down the street, pulling alongside Derrick. Two shooters with Glocks leaned out windows and opened fire before he could even turn around. They cut down Derrick before he made it halfway across the sidewalk, leaving him facedown on the concrete in a pool of blood.

Nobody knew anything, but Ice was certain the guy behind it was a punk named Jayson.

Jayson and Derrick ran in a Pacific Avenue crew, slinging rock and pills to tourists and casino workers near Trump Plaza, across the street from Convention Hall. Somebody said Jayson got greedy and wanted a bigger share of the profits. There was no such thing as an amicable end to business partnerships in their neighborhood, and nobody walked away when somebody wanted you gone. Things got settled without handshakes and buyouts.

Now Ice wanted him dead.

He was going to do it like a man though; not hire some thug when he could do the job himself. And not pump a clip full of bullets into his back while he was minding his own business on a street corner or talking to his crew, but do it calm and business-like without taking out innocents who weren’t part of the deal. Look him in the eye when he squeezed the trigger. Old school, Ice was thinking. Eye for an eye.

The way things used to be done.

He popped a stick of Juicy Fruit into his mouth and moved silently across the street.

At the end of the block he saw Jayson talking to his old lady and a couple of friends, and Ice swallowed his grin. The guy was as regular as a Rolex; every night on that same corner, holding court like the mayor. It didn’t matter what day it was or whether it was raining, cold or hot – he stood in that spot and acted like he ran the neighborhood. The sound of laughter carried down the street and Ice thought about how Jayson would never hear that sound again. Never share a laugh or smile, and never see another night on that corner.


Dead was dead.

Ice moved softly through the shadows and made himself small so no one could see him.

When he came up behind Jayson he had the gun extended, pointed low towards the center of his back. No head shots like the younger kids favored – old school, he kept thinking. The type that wouldn’t miss.

Ice got right behind him and smiled the kind of satisfied grin revenge created.

“Jayson,” he said.

Ice was already pulling the trigger and emptying the Nine’s clip as Jayson turned around, holding his baby daughter against his chest.

The only sound Ice heard as he raced away was the pained, piercing scream of the baby’s mother, shrieking as she cradled the dead bodies in her arms.

Her cries went on forever into his night.

BIO: Kevin Michaels is everything New Jersey (attitude - edginess - Bruce Springsteen but not Bon Jovi). He is a writer and a surfer who lives at the JerseyShore, and his published work can be found at A COLD RUSH OF AIR ( His debut novel, “Lost Exit” has just been released and is available through,, I-Pad, and other channels.

A Twist Of Noir 657 - U.V. Ray


Her black suede skirt was up around her waist and she had no underwear on. One leg was lying flat with the other knee raised, thighs parted. She didn’t have any shoes on either: her toe nails were painted red. I found it tantalising. This is how it all started. She was wearing a tight, yellow Blondie t-shirt that had been torn, exposing her left shoulder and small breast, a dark nipple. She looked calm; her brown eyes rolled coquettishly in their sockets to the right, staring at the golden leaves scattered on the ground. I could hear the waiting truck’s diesel engine idling behind me.

Initially I thought it was just a pile of clothes dumped in the ditch that ran the length of the layby we’d pulled up in. But something struck me as not being right. I pushed my way through the bushes. I was eleven years old and it was the first time I’d seen a naked woman. She was shaved and the intricate contours of her exposed, red labia created more mystery regarding the female form than it answered questions for a kid of my years. I wanted to touch, to discover what she would feel like but I just stood transfixed. I reckoned she was about twenty. She was skinny and very pretty. I liked her dyed pink hair, cut into a bob, and the way her birdlike ribs showed through her skin. She was stretched out on the floor, her back fixed in an arch with her arms draped above her head. The only mark on her was a playing card tattoo on her bare shoulder – a Joker and the Ace of Spades. I don’t recall there being a single sign of injury. Not that I specifically looked. I realise now the life must have barely left her; she could not have been there more than a few hours. The rising sun blasted through the trees and glinted in her glassy eyes. It was the most perfect image I had ever seen.

“What have you been doing?” My father laughed when I climbed back in his Scania, finishing his bacon sandwich and wiping his hands down the front of his blue boiler suit. “You’re such a dreamer.”

“Er... It was a long wee.” I told him, realising the desire to actually have one had completely left me. I was frozen. The image of the girl stayed with me. But I never breathed a word.

The traffic started building up. It signaled the onslaught of morning rush hour, which resulted in a multiple prang as three vehicles ran into the back of each other on the approach to a traffic island. My dad engaged the gears, “twats,” he shook his blonde head, smiling as we pulled out of the lay-by and passed the three bickering motorists in their grey office suits. We were heading towards the dull lights of Birmingham. It was 1978. Kraftwerk’s Trans-Europe Express played on the truck radio.

“What a crock of shit this is!” My dad said. He liked Led Zeppelin and the likes. All this new stuff was shit. He didn’t like my Tubeway Army album either. He said it was a travesty that Buddy Holly had been killed in a plane crash at the age of twenty-one whilst “these puffs who wear more make-up than Barbara Cartland are allowed to thrive.”

It was the 26th of September. I remember the exact day because of the date on the newspaper. I was fascinated by a photograph I was studying as I sat in the passenger seat. Two planes had collided over San Diego. The picture, taken from the ground, was of a Pacific Southwest Airlines 727 with its right wing engine spewing flames as it plunged towards the ground. We’d been doing poetry at school and it made me think of the words by T.S.Eliot:

...the dove descending breaks the air, with flame of incandescent terror...

BIO: U.V. Ray: writer, drinker, womaniser extra-ordinaire, swindler par-excellence, liar, cheat and all round filthy rotten miscreant. Find out more at U.V. Ray’s official website.

A Twist Of Noir 656 - Christopher Grant


February 3, 2010


Max Carver is seventeen. He’s still a virgin in so many ways.

Sexually, for one thing.

He’s never been with a girl or a woman or even a guy, though that ain’t his thing.

Mentally, for another.

He sees the world in black and white and doesn’t notice the nuances and the wonders never cease. I mean, for Christ’s sake, he’s seventeen. You’d think he’d be at least a little cynical.

Physically, he’s not much. His arms look like buggy whips, his legs look like pretzel sticks. He is the epitome of the pencil-necked geek.

I see the possibilities immediately.

He reminds me a lot of Jeremy, the last guy I made better. Damn shame about Jeremy. But Max could be Jeremy reincarnated. Same naive thoughts, same one track mind. Everyone thinks of geeks as smart people. Jeremy wasn’t. Remember?

They also assume geeks don’t think about sex. Bullshit. Jeremy and I were doing it all the time and when we weren’t, we were working.

I don’t know anything about Max yet. But he’s got potential. We’ll see.


February 8, 2010


I button up my jeans and pull on my shirt.

Max is a ‘man’ now.

His face is priceless, a combination of excitement and confusion. Excitement for what we just did and the possibility that there will be more. Confusion because what he knows of sex is that the girl is supposed to be the one that wants to cuddle and all that shit.

I ain’t that kind of girl.

He says, “I love you.” This after one fuck.

“Will you still love me tomorrow?” I ask him.

He laughs. I might be asking a musical question but I ain’t joking. I really do wonder, especially after what I’m about to have him do.


February 9, 2010


I’m proud of Max. He did exactly what I told him to do; walk into the gas station, put the gun in the clerk’s face and make him empty the drawer and the safe. The old man didn’t even bother trying to trigger the police alarm.

Of course, now that he can identify Max, we have to get out of town.


February 10, 2010


$600. I know, what can you expect from a one-horse shithole like Max’s town? But I was thinking at least $1000.

Besides, Max is so happy, so excited to do something like this and get away with it, he doesn’t even care about having to leave town or his family and his friends behind.

He tells me that he wrote a letter to them, explaining everything to them.

Max is so happy he can’t wait to pull the next job. It’s all he talks about when we’re between the sheets.


February 12, 2010


Honestly, if you’re going to do the job, do it right.

Max is still a virgin at this shit even though we got his cherry popped two towns ago.

It’s just like what happened with Jeremy.

This gas station attendant didn’t think we posed any kind of threat so I told Max to stick the gun in the guy’s face, show him that he had bullets in every chamber of the pistol. He did it but the guy still wouldn’t budge.

“Shoot him,” I said.


Take your fucking eye off the ball, Max, and you pay.

The guy reached for something and I shot him in the head.

All that trouble was worth twenty dollars.

Jesus Christ!


February 14, 2010


It’s Valentine’s Day!

Max has been sick all week. He says that he’s having nightmares about the guy that we killed, the guy that I shot. Max says that they’re going to catch up with us, that it’s only a matter of time, that we’re all over the cameras in the gas stations and we’re dead when they do get us.

I ask him if he wants any of my fries.

BIO: Christopher Grant is the editor and publisher of A Twist Of Noir. This story took over a year to get exactly how he wanted it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

New Challenge Stories Coming Monday

Six of them, if I have my way.

Names include (if count is right and I believe all six are right on the money; I know for a fact that four of them are):

Christopher Grant

U.V. Ray

Kevin Michaels

Kieran Shea

Charlie Stella


Kathleen A. Ryan

Over the next 72 hours, I will be looking over these stories, making sure the count is dead-on and if I get them all confirmed before Monday, I will be dropping them before the new work week.