Sharp Fiction From Needle
A few weeks ago, a crime-writing friend named Steve Weddle told me he was starting a new publication. Not a Web zine, mind you, but a print magazine. As he described it in an e-mail, “I want ink on paper. I want to turn pages. I want to loan the mag to a friend and have him read some awesome story I just fell in love with.” I was intrigued by the idea, but assumed that it would take months to pull a first issue together. My background is in print media, and I know how slowly the wheels there turn (thanks to years of magazine work, I’m ready for Christmas when July rolls around — that’s normally when all those stories about decking the halls are written).
Instead, Needle: A Magazine of Noir was created in a few short weeks. Steve and his co-conspirators — John Hornor Jacobs, who provided the design genius, and Naomi Johnson, Daniel O’Shea, and Scott D. Parker, who worked the words over — may have sacrificed sleep, or their souls, or both, because the magazine is stunning. Packed with fiction from Dave Zeltserman, Patti Abbott, Jedidiah Ayres, Keith Rawson, Sandra Seamans, and other terrific writers, it’s a must-read. Work has already started on the second issue, and there are submission guidelines on Needle‘s site.
I have a story, “The Black Widow Club,” in the first issue. Here’s how it opens:
Oscar looked exactly as he had the last time I’d seen him, except for the chunk missing from the back of his skull. His body was slumped facedown on his desk, right hand resting on the computer’s mouse, the monogrammed gold cufflinks his company had presented him upon his retirement gleaming in the fluorescent light of the basement. His shirt and chinos were neatly pressed, and his feet were tucked into black suede loafers. What was new was the computer screen splattered with blood and splotches of grey matter that I didn’t want to get close enough to analyze.
I forced my eyes away from the corpse. “Mom, when you told me on the phone that something had happened to Oscar, was this what you meant?”
The complete story is in Needle.