cover image Down to the River

Down to the River

Edited by Tim O’Mara. Down & Out, $15.95 trade paper (242p) ISBN 978-1-948235-78-5

The 18 stories and one poem in this solid river-themed crime anthology vary greatly in style and voice. Highlights include Maria Kelson’s “Optimize Us,” with its witty observation on digital insinuation into modern lives and truly original murder and motive, and Mike Veve’s stream-of-consciousness free verse poem, “The Great Emancipator,” which offers an evocative ride through 1986 Washington, D.C. The Arkansas River (“pronounced ar-Kan-sas”) beckons to the narrator of Julia McDermott’s “The Riverfest,” which drolly begins: “Before you moved to Wichita, Kansas, no one told you that a serial killer was living there.” An argument about a fish leads the protagonist of Frankie Y Bailey’s satisfying “Eel’s Blood” to the resolution of two decades-old murders. In John Keyse-Walker’s unsettling “A Tale of Two Rivers,” a Fort Myers, Fla., sheriff must come to terms with the prospect that a vicious serial killer is on the loose. There is something for every taste in this motley collection. (Apr.)