Triptych by Max Dunbar

1. The Book Club

The famous crime writer met with his literary agent for help with a problem. It was strange, you wouldn’t think that this crime novelist, who was rich and successful, had any problems in his life at all. He was the author of the Inspector Tak mysteries – a series of police procedurals in which dour, working-class cop Ian Tak investigated serial killers (aided by DC Sarah Lombardi, a hot-headed half-Italian sidekick who wore expensive suits and had a habit of swearing in Italian). The books had been popular for many years but sales had begun to ebb. Feminists objected to the visceral rape-slaughters of the author’s anonymous fictional victims. Comments he had made on panels, at festivals, on his blog, and on Twitter, had been misinterpreted. It was time for a new direction.

‘Vampires,’ said the agent. ‘Vampires is it.’ Continue reading “Triptych by Max Dunbar”

Chef’s Privilege by D.S. Maolalaí

The publisher had sent my book covers that morning

by email. Final proofs. I sent back that they were good

and bragged about it on the internet. We were in Paris

in a flat on Rue de Belleville, the 11ieme aron and 6 floors walk

up. It was beautiful. From the window to the horizon there was nothing but roof. Fallon had to

spend the day working Continue reading “Chef’s Privilege by D.S. Maolalaí”

Operation Loch Ness by C.R. Berry

August 14th 2164

No, please no.

The synthesiser toppled over the edge of the refreshment trolley. The secretary lunged to catch it, but gravity beat him and the machine met the floor with a crack.

Mark two synthesisers were known for being temperamental (and cheap), so he suspected he’d broken it. Picking it up, he placed a cup in the dispenser to test it: “Coffee, white.”

The synthesiser acknowledged his request with a beep and liquid flowed into the cup. He removed it, looked at the contents, smelled it. “Fan-bloody-tastic.” The device had given him hot cherryade—the coffee files were corrupted. Continue reading “Operation Loch Ness by C.R. Berry”

Mates Don’t Grass by Matt Hornsby

The office tea-point was a miserable space; a battered sink, whose hole emitted a cloacal smell, and a kettle thick with scale. A window looked out onto the building’s cavernous atrium. Tom gently swung it open and peered out. His gut untightened. Karen was still out there, thank God – talking to some clients in leather chairs, waving her hands around in histrionic gestures. Dampened by the acoustics of the hall, a few words and phrases echoed up; ‘New standards in lean product design’, ‘restructuring the client-customer interface’. The clients nodded sagely.

He could still feel the email, framed ominously in his ‘sent mail’ box: Continue reading “Mates Don’t Grass by Matt Hornsby”