Damn Near Dead 2

I’ve been so intent on catching folks up on upcoming projects that I neglected to mention an awfully nifty project I was involved in last year. In November, Busted Flush Press released Damn Near Dead 2: Live Noir or Die Trying, edited by the illustrious Bill Crider.

As people who’ve read my work know, I don’t usually hang with the noir crowd, but when Bill invited me to submit a story to this book of “geezer noir,” I couldn’t resist giving it a try. I drew inspiration from my grandfather, who was devoted to Finch’s Restaurant in Raleigh, NC. And by devoted, I mean he ate breakfast there every weekday and many weekends for as far back as I can remember. He knew every waitress, and though the owners changed a couple of times over the years, Granddaddy’s order never did. (Two eggs, over easy, dry toast, and streak-o-lean.) My parents have a similar relationship with Skyland in Charlotte, NC.  I drew on both places to come up with my story “Kids Today.”

As you can see, artist Jeff Wong created a dynamite cover, and the stories inside are pretty darned good, too.  Just check out the table of contents:

“Sleep, Creep, Leap” by Patti Abbott
“El Conejo” by Ace Atkins
“Stiffs” by Neal Barrett, Jr.
“The End of Jim and Ezra” by C. J. Box
“Out Stealing Buddha” by Declan Burke
“Love Story” by Scott Cupp
“All About Eden” by Christa Faust
“Flying Solo” by Ed Gorman
“Neighborhood Watch” by Carolyn Haines
“Memory Sketch” by David Handler
“Some Things You Never Forget” by Gar Anthony Haywood
“The War Zone” by Cameron Pierce Hughes
“You’re Only Dead Once” by Dean James
“The Sleeping Detective” by Jennifer Jordan
“Kids Today” by Toni L.P. Kelner
“The Old Man in the Motorized Chair” by Joe R. Lansdale
“Angel of Mercy” by Russel McLean
“Miss Hartly and the Cocksucker” by Denise Mina
“Sometimes You Can’t Retire” by Marcia Muller
“The Investor” by Gary Phillips
“Bill in Idaho” by Scott Phillips
“Zypho the Tentacled Brainsucker from Outer Space vs. the Mob” by Tom Piccirilli
“Trade Secret” by Bill Pronzini
“The Summer Place” by Cornelia Read
“Warning Shot” by James Reasoner
“Cutlass” by Kat Richardson
“Chin Yong-Yun Takes the Case” by S.J. Rozan
“Granny Pussy” by Anthony Neil Smith
“Old Men and Old Boards” by Don Winslow

Sadly, this was one of the last projects from the late David Thompson, who founded Busted Flush. But I recently learned that his wife McKenna Jordan will be taking over the reins, and I think that David would be proud to know that.