cover image Love and Other Criminal Behavior

Love and Other Criminal Behavior

Nikki Dolson. Bronzeville, $16.95 trade paper (152p) ISBN 978-1-952427-01-5

The 13 selections in Dolson’s middling first short story collection, two of them previously unpublished, touch on dark themes, but don’t explore them in much depth. Brief stories, such as “The Mistress,” an account of a mistress intent on confronting her lover in his home with a gun, and “83,” about a woman in debt on the run from the man she owes money to, amount to mere vignettes. Even some longer tales feel underdeveloped. For example, “Georgie Ann,” which opens with the title character in a coffin being viewed by women who were part of her social circle but weren’t really her friends, peters out by the time the cause of death is revealed. Dolson shows what she’s capable of in “Our Man Julian,” a moving character study in which desperation for money prompts a small-time actor, whose bit roles in movies like Shaft never led to bigger ones, to make a very bad choice. Fans of Dolson’s novel, All Things Violent, will hope for better next time. (June)