cover image Crime Plus Music: Twenty Stories of Music-Themed Noir

Crime Plus Music: Twenty Stories of Music-Themed Noir

Edited by Jim Fusilli. Three Rooms, $19.95 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-941110-45-4

Fusilli’s music-themed anthology rocks with superb solos from a number of big-name mystery writers and others who deserve to be better known. Highlights include Peter Blauner’s “The Last Temptation of Frankie Lymon,” a poignant portrait of the ill-fated doo-wop singer, and Val McDermid’s clever saga, “The Long Black Veil,” based loosely on the ballad of the same name. Struggling musicians are the norm, as dramatically shown by Craig Johnson’s “Unbalanced,” in which his series hero, an unnamed Walt Longmire, picks up a young woman hitchhiker packing a gun and a guitar. Sleazy impresario Johnny O creates and manages a girl-group trio in Naomi Rand’s powerful “The Misfits.” Alison Gaylin spins a revenge yarn with a neat twist in “All Ages,” which features a pair of starstruck 16-year-old girls. Strong wordplay adds to the enjoyment of David Corbitt’s “Are You with Me, Doctor Wu?,” in which a drugged-out rocker gets a second chance. This splendid compilation is marred only by the lack of even brief contributor bios. (Oct.)