cover image Unloaded 2: More Crime Writers Writing Without Guns

Unloaded 2: More Crime Writers Writing Without Guns

Edited by Eric Beetner. Down & Out, $18.95 trade paper (348p) ISBN 978-1-946502-59-9

Since firearms are banned from the 22 entertaining and often thought-provoking stories in this sequel to 2016’s Unloaded, the contributors have come up with some surprising methods to create mayhem alongside the more usual alternatives of poison and knives. Highlights include Scott Loring Sanders’s “Magic 8 Ball” and Terry Shames’s “You Kill Me,” which demonstrate that there are definitely more ways than one to dispose of a troublesome spouse. Lori Rader-Day’s unsettling character study, “Outlaws,” charts a child’s wariness hardening into cynicism. Striking a lighter note is James W. Ziskin’s “Pan Paniscus,” in which a clever escapee from a zoo’s primate enclosure is instrumental in solving a crime. The anthology concludes with a sobering essay, “The Center,” in which E.A. Aymar describes his first-hand brush with gun violence. Many readers will come away agreeing with Sara Paretsky, who says in her introduction: “without the presence of any guns, we are using our words to say that the guns aren’t necessary to the plot, and indeed in our lives.” (Apr.)