Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Short Story Wednesday: Two Stories from OxCrimes

 


I have had OxCrimes, edited by Mark Ellingham and Peter Florence, for several years and previously had only read six stories from that anthology. This week I read two more stories and both were very good. 

First is "The Sin of Dreams" by Walter Mosley. This is a cross-genre story, a combination of science fiction and crime fiction, although heavier on the science fiction side. As the story begins, a hip hop promoter who runs a biological research company is trying to convince a very young expert in bio-storage technology, Carly Mathews, to join a company that plans to transfer one's memories along with the soul from one body to another. The intent is to provide a way to move the soul of a dying human to a new body. Carly doesn't believe that this is possible, but she is lured into the proposition because the work would be so challenging and she would gain from it whether it is successful or not. Mosley writes so well that I was pulled in from the beginning. It was a very interesting story with a weird ending.

This story was first published in OxCrimes in 2014, but was also published in the recent collection of Mosley's short stories, The Awkward Black Man, released in September 2020.


The second story I read was "Underneath the Mistletoe Last Night" by Mark Billingham. It featured his series character, Detective Inspector Tom Thorne, and it almost made me want to try that series. I read the story now because it is still close to the holidays. The ending was kind of obvious but I liked the story anyway. It is not your usual uplifting or festive Christmas tale.

All of the stories I have read in this anthology have been excellent. I am sure I will continue and read all the stories in the book (eventually).



17 comments:

Cath said...

Oh, I have this and have also had it for *cough* quite a few years. I see you've liked the stories you've read so far, also that there are some very famous crime authors in it. I will give it a try soon.

George said...

After reading your review, I'm now interesting in reading some Mark Billingham mysteries. I've seen his books at various Library Book Sales put passed on them. Now, I'll pick them up...when the Sales come back. My daughter got her first coronavirus vaccine shot yesterday (the Moderna one) and will get the second shot in 21 days. I'm hoping to get my vaccine shot next month.

TracyK said...

Cath, Now that I am in short story mode, I do hope to keep reading the stories in this book. There is a good mix of male and female authors also, which I like.

TracyK said...

George, I passed on the first Billingham book, which I had for years, because it was a serial killer story and that is not a type of story I enjoy. But I am tempted to try his writing and see if I enjoy it. I will be very glad when I can get back to book sales. That was my source for trying writers and subjects I wasn't sure about without spending too much money.

I am glad to hear that your daughter has gotten her coronavirus vaccine shot. Although I am 72, it is hard to tell when I would get vaccinated since I don't have any other health conditions that apply but I will be glad to get it when I can. The vaccine rollout doesn't seem be going very well here in California.

Margot Kinberg said...

What a great collection, Tracy! The stories you've mentioned are by two authors I think are very talented, and the rest look good, too. And for a good cause, as well. What's not to like?

TracyK said...

I agree, Margot. There are some authors listed that I am eager to try.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Mark Billingham is also very funny in person. I have heard him speak at Bouchercon. He may have been a standup comic before turning to writing.

TracyK said...

You are right, Patti. The bio that preceded his story mentioned that he was an actor and a stand up comic before he started writing.

Todd Mason said...

JC Oates's most famous early story in a legit (authorized) post/site:
https://celestialtimepiece.com/2015/01/21/where-are-you-going-where-have-you-been/

Also still one of the best suspense stories I've read.

TracyK said...

Todd, thanks for the link. I was going to read the story and reply afterward, but I was distracted by all the stuff going on today and did not do that. I will check it out tomorrow.

Todd Mason said...

The political version of the story!

Mary R. said...

I haven't read a ton of Mosley, but have been quite impressed by what I have read. This story collection sounds interesting. I always find I like the idea of short stories better than I like the actual experience of reading them though.

CLM said...

Striking cover. I read a book by Billingham a couple years ago and thought it was good; surprised I didn’t try more.

Good idea to focus on a few stories at a time.

TracyK said...

Mary, I have read two of Mosley's Easy Rawlins books, and one featuring Fearless Jones, and I liked all of those.

I used to be reluctant to read short stories, but in the last few years have found them more enjoyable.

TracyK said...

Constance, I have heard good things about Billingham's series but my impression is that I would not enjoy reading about the types of crime depicted.

CLM said...

No, and a lot of the Jane Caseys have violent crimes so maybe she is not for you either. I suppose I just don't dwell on those sections because I am certainly revolted by graphic descriptions of crime.

After work ended today, I decided to attack my ostensible office which I have not used since I bought a good laptop several years ago, instead piling books on the floor to be dealt with later. It is the warmest room in the house, however, so I thought I should reclaim it. I've been trying to divide into "eventually read" and "donate" and "possibly sell." Imagine my surprise when I found a book by Mark Billingham called Rush of Blood in one of these piles. I usually add books to a spreadsheet when I acquire them but this pile never got recorded so I don't know where or when I got it.

TracyK said...

Constance, I do read some books with violent crimes but it often depends on how much, how graphic, etc. But I especially don't like serial killer books, and try to avoid them if I know in advance.

Going through your office sounds like a good project, and it is interesting that you found another book by Billingham. I am so far behind on cataloging my books, it is embarrassing.