CRIMEWAVE 3: BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE
Edited by Andy Cox
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TTA Press / 160 pages / 30 March 2000
Some editors just have that touch (Jeffry Dwight and Constance Ash leap to mind); everything they put together is golden. If you’ve read The 3rd Alternative, you already know that Andy Cox is one of those gifted editors. The 3rd Alternative is certainly one of the top magazines in the genre today. Now take a peek at the visage of new-wave crime fiction.
Dark realism, mystery, even a splash of speculative fiction — Crimewave 3 is a perfect outlet for this flourishing, breakaway school of crime fiction. Gone are the police procedurals, the two-bit crooks, the hard-boiled dicks; they have a place, but this isn’t it. Instead, you are locked eye-to-eye with the human monsters among us. And it’s a chilling experience.
A glance at the table of contents should have you anticipating a helluva read. You won’t be disappointed. Trust me. But, trust no one in Crimewave 3, if you value your life.
First out of the gate is a twisted little number by Chaz Brenchley, another member of the infamous, elite Murder Squad. “Up the Airy Mountain” — such a pastoral title for such a deadly tale of murder, deception, and dependence. Take this opening sentence: “The dead are heavier than they used to be, before they were dead.” What foolish reader would stop there? Follow that first sentence into a story that reads like a poem of pain.
You would expect nothing less than brilliance and a strong dose of horror from the talented minds of James Lovegrove, Peter Crowther, and Tom Piccirilli. Consider yourself warned and encouraged to dig right in. So to speak. Their work is always worth the occasional nightmare or bout of paranoia. You’ll live through it.
And what would this group be without that feminine touch? Touch of evil, that is. The title of Patricia Tyrrel’s shocker speaks for itself: “Two Legs Or a Piece of an Ear.” Any questions? Ceri Jordan bloody foray into “Playing Mother” has a genuine surprise waiting for readers. I’ll be looking for more works from these two. But, I wouldn’t turn my back on them.
Amazingly, prose is not the only allure of Crimewave 3. In an industry where it sometimes seems artwork is being handed over to amateurs, here are some reasons not to give up hope. From Mike Bohatch’s tantalizing cover art to the shadowy images of David Checkley, Wendy Down, and Roddy Williams — the illustrations are an integral part of every story. Forgive me for playing favourites, but take a long look at Andy Cox’s icy femmes fatales.
Not sure if crime fiction has a place under the SF, fantasy and horror umbrella? This issue should clear up any of those doubts. This is dark realism at its best, and something tells me it is an infusion of new ideas that will change our perceptions.
Open wide the doors of our precious genre.