cover image 3 LADY BLUES + 12


J. Michael Blue, Author . Mystery and Suspense/ iUniverse $13.95 (200p) ISBN 978-0-595-22135-6

Well-defined characters and nice doses of irony and suspense distinguish Blue's (Justified Crimes) second short story collection, which opens with a trilogy ("Lady Blue," "The Lady Goes to Marrakech," "Exit Lady Blue") about a blues singer and a bass player she asks to mind a suitcase for her. No need to say that there's a heap of trouble in the suitcase, and our hero hits the trail with some big guns on his tail; naturally, our lady and her Galahad outwit their pursuers. Then there's "Abbey's World," about a woman who loses her patience with her abusive husband. In the effective "The Way It Is," a kid grows sick of ignoring the injustice he sees and decides to do something about it. The poignant "Visit to Huntsville" explores the relationship between a bad dad and his good son. Like most of the previously published stories here, the two new entries, "Do Your Own Time" and "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished," have a welcome O. Henry twist at the end. Despite their hard-boiled label, Blue gives these tales gentleness and heart. (POD)