Josh Pachter


Ellery Queen Jan/Feb 2020

Ellery Queen Jan/Feb 2020

Contents Page
Matthew Wilson “The Wretched Strangers” art by Mark Evan Walker
Andrew Welsh-Huggins
“Home for the Holidays”
Kristopher Zgorski: Blog Bytes
Fei Wu “Beijingle All the Way” (Passport to Crime) translated from the Chinese by Josh Pachter
Bonnie Hearn Hill “Feliz Navidead”
Dean Jobb: Stranger Than Fiction (preview)
Mark SaFranko “Frogman”
Mike McHone “A Drive-By on Chalmers Road?”
Steve Steinbock: The Jury Box
Mycroft and Sherlock: The Empty Birdcage by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Anna Waterhouse
The Devil’s Due by Bonnie MacBird
The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols by Nicholas Meyer
The Disappearance of Alistair Ainsworth by Leonard Goldberg
Lethal Pursuit by Will Thomas
The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis
Death in Focus by Anne Perry
Killing with Confetti by Peter Lovesey
The Second Biggest Nothing by Colin Cotterill
—plus four others briefly covered
Kieran Shea “Paying It Off” (Black Mask)
Merrilee Robson “Edie”
Terrence Faherty “The Yellow Face” art by Jason C. Eckhardt
Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation
Josh Pachter “The Adventure of the Red Circles”
Kelston Gunn Cowling “Mr. Majestyk” (Dept. of First Stories)
John M. Floyd “Crow’s Nest”
Marilyn Todd “Nights in White Satin”
B.A. Paul “The Dragonfly” (Dept. of First Stories)
Pat Black “The Concrete Pillow”
Toni L.P. Kelner “Now Hiring Nasty Girlz”
Bill Pronzini “Stroke of Luck”
Leslie Elman “The Summer Uncle Cat Came to Stay”
Twist Phelan “Used to Be”
Peter Turnbull “The Banks of the Ouse”
Classified Marketplace
Christine Poulson “Because You’re Worth It”

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Jan/Feb 2020 Vol. 155 No. 1 & 2, Whole No. 940 & 941
Publisher: Peter Kanter
Editor: Janet Hutchings
Managing Editor: Jackie Sherbow
Senior Director Art & Production: Porter C. McKinnon
Senior AD: Victoria Green
Cover: Erika Steiskal

192 pages
$7.99 on newsstands until Feb. 18, 2020
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine website
Dean Jobb’s Stranger Than Fiction

EQMM and AHMM Mystery Value Pack-8 $7.95
Mystery Double Issue Value Pack-12 $15.95
EQMM and AHMM Mystery Value Pack-16 $12.95

Mystery Weekly Magazine Oct. 2019

Mystery Weekly Magazine Oct. 2019

Ralph E. Vaughan “The Adventure of the Abominable Inn”
S. Subramanian’s An Indian Nobody’s Affair with Mr. Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street
Chris Chan “Of Course She Pushed Him”
Thomas J. Belton “The Murderous Wood”
Teel James Glenn “The Case of the Final Interview”
Jack Bates “Casualty of the Bidding War”
Josh Pachter “The Two-Body Problem”
David Wiseman “Hemingway’s Hat”
Bruce Harris’ The Reigate Squires Scrutinized
M. Bennardo “Rousseau’s Children”
Michael Mallory “The Adventures of the Seven Nooses”
S. Subramanian “Counterpunch” (Bull-Dog Drummond)
Vincent W. Wright’s Words on a Page
J.R. Underdown “The Body Pillow”
Laird Long “Cater-Wail” (You-Solve-It)

Mystery Weekly Magazine Oct. 2019
Publisher: Chuck Carter
Editor: Kerry Carter
Cover: Robin Grenville-Evans
7.5” x 10” 151 pages
POD $9.95, Kindle $5.49
Mystery Weekly Magazine website

BCMM1: Summary

Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1

Excerpt from the review of Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1 from The Digest Enthusiast No. 7:

“The ABCs of Murder,” a humorous poem by Josh Pachter, fills out the back cover. Oddly, it’s run landscape; I suppose to maximize the type size.

Black Cat Mystery Magazine is a welcome new arrival for fans of crime fiction magazines. Its content fulfills its promise of something for all mystery readers—hardboiled, cozy, noir, crime, private eye, suspense, and thriller. Each story is a satisfying example of its sub-genre. My favorites were those by Michael Bracken, Kaye George, and Fletcher Flora; but I lean toward the dark side. If you enjoy the full range of crime fiction, you’ll love the variety here. And frankly, variety is what a great anthology is all about.

Publisher: Wildside Press LLC
Editors: John Gregory Betancourt and Carla Coupe
Cover: Fotolia
6” x 9” 150 pages
POD $12.00, Kindle $3.99

Espionage Magazine May 1987

Espionage Magazine July 1987
The second issue of the reboot, Espionage Magazine Vol. 2 No. 7 July 1987

Excerpt from Josh Pachter’s memoir of working for Espionage Magazine from The Digest Enthusiast No. 7:

After eleven issues Espionage sales were not self-sustaining.

“So, after a four-month hiatus, Espionage was “reborn” in May 1987 in its spiffy new format [magazine-size, shown in the featured image], with the words First Edition prominently placed on the cover in big red capital letters. The issue contained an even dozen pieces of fiction (including a “Spy Classic” credited in the table of contents to Douglas Greene but in fact was introduced by him and written by the English Mansfield brothers and published in 1900 under the pseudonym “Huan Mee,” plus a lengthy excerpt from a novel by Warren Burke), and, to my surprise (and, I admit it, gratification), my name was the first of the four listed on the cover.”

Espionage Feb. 1986

Espionage Feb. 1986

Espionage Magazine Vol. 1 No. 6 Feb. 1986
About People [Contributors]
Brian Burley’s About Books
Carl Martin’s About Video
Ernest Volkman’s About Other Things . . .
Letters to the Editor
Jackie Lewis: Publisher’s Page
Guy Graybill “The War Which Never Ends”
Michael Gilbert “Early Warning”
Joe R. Lansdale “An All American Hero”
Did You Know
Joe Gill “Go Kill Yourself”
Interview: David Morrell by Stanley Wiater
Ron Goulart “The Monster of the Maze” at by Rob Richards
Charles L. Harness “Crossings”
Did You Know
Isak Romun “Letter from Moscow”
Janwillem Van de Wetering “Non-Interference”
Josh Pachter “Assignment: Vienna” (Conclusion) art by Mike Romesburg
Did You Know
Joe Lewis’ Spying Through Time
Richard Walton’s On File . . . Naughty Mariella [Novotny]
Game Pages

Editor/Publisher: Jackie Lewis
Associate Publisher: Jeri Winston
Art Director: Laura Avello
Production Manager: Michael Mills
Cover: Rob Richards
Cartoons: Dandy, Halm
Published bi-monthly by Leo 11 Publications
160 pages, $2.50

Writer Josh Pachter recalls Espionage Magazine in “I Spy” in The Digest Enthusiast No. 7.

Josh Pachter’s Eb and Flo

Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1

Excerpt from the review of Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1 from The Digest Enthusiast No. 7:

The sheriff of Lamar County tackles his first murder case since his election in 2012. Down-home but savvy, he nails the perp between visits to his uncle and aunt at the Choctaw Nursing Home in “Eb and Flo” by Josh Pachter. An affecting mash-up spun from elements of Pachter’s real-life past. Pachter is a frequent contributor to EQMM—his own stories and the translation of Dutch and Flemish work for EQMM’s Passport to Crime feature.

Espionage Nov. 1985

Espionage Nov. 1985

Espionage Magazine Vol. 1 No. 5 Nov. 1985
Jackie Lewis: Publisher’s Page
About People (Contributors)
About Books
About Films
About Videos
About Other Things . . .
Letters to the Editor
Robert P. Kissel: Our Man in Berlin (Admiral Willhelm Canaris)
Michael Bracken “Only Heroes Die”
Announcement: First Annual Short-Story Contest
Francis M. Nevins, Jr. Bebriefing Joe Gali: A Conversation with James Atlee Phillips (Phillip Atlee)
Anderz Telemark “Pas De Deux”
Alice Lightner “Lindy’s Lights”
Next Issue
Did you know . . .
John Dickson Carr “Menace in Wax” (Radio Script)
Josh Pachter “Assignment Vienna” (Part One)
Stuart Symons “The Last Speakers of Oubykh”
Edward D. Hoch “Prisoner of Zerfall”
Richard Ashby “Night of the Durga” (Part Two)
Joe Lewis: Spying Through Time
Espionage Questionaire
Richard Walton’s On File . . . The Darling of the Gestapo
Game Pages

Editor/Publisher: Jackie Lewis
Associate Publisher: Jeri Winston
Editorial Assistant: Mike Christenberry
Art Director: Laura Avello
Production Manager: Michael Mills
Cover: Aries
Cartoons: Halmmasthead
Published bi-monthly by Leo 11 Publications
164 pages, $2.50

Writer Josh Pachter recalls Espionage Magazine in “I Spy” in The Digest Enthusiast No. 7.

Review: Amsterdam Noir

Amsterdam Noir

An early 2019 entry in Akashic Books’ award-winning noir series, Amsterdam Noir, features stories selected by Rene Appél and Josh Pachter. Pachter, being a writer himself, ably translated many of them from the Dutch. The volume is cast in four thematic sways, each inspired by a film noir classic.

Part 1: Out of the Past begins as past and present are juxtaposed in “Welcome to Amsterdam” by Michael Berg. The dehumanizing abuse of a prisoner in Syria seems worlds away from a business trip from New York to Amsterdam. But when a uniting element suddenly appears, the horrors of the past rush forward, giving rise to a new assault on our traveler’s haunted dreams. Berg won the Golden Noose, the award for the best Dutch-language crime novel in 2013.

“Spui 13” by Anneloes Timmerije is a beautifully written tragedy, “inspired by an actual Amsterdam murder case,” that spirals downward toward dark waters. Lifelong friends Ella and our unnamed narrator, grow from struggling college students unable to pay the rent, to successful careers—Ella a high-profile newspaper reporter, and our narrator, a publisher’s proofreader. Extravert and introvert. When Ella is kidnapped, events from the past they can never forget, bring the realization they can never escape either.

In “Ankle Monitor” (translated by Sam Garrett), author Herman Koch delivers a chilling first-person account of obsession with intent. A convicted felon turns sour on his biographer when he imagines the journalist’s interview sessions with his ex-wife. His controlled behavior takes a furlough along with his incarceration for a weekend on the outside. Tension builds as his cunning shines in his final confining moments.

“Salvation” by Simon de Waal (translated by Maria de Bruyn) provides a salacious tour of Amsterdam’s Red-Light District, the backdrop against which his protagonist, the roiled and wrung Waldemar, attempts to sort past and present, fact and figment. His struggle centers on a slain prostitute and the stains she left behind. A melancholy, beautifully written tragedy.

Part 2: Kiss Me Deadly Romance plus noir must equal heartache, so fair warning. In “The Tower” by Hanna Bervoets there is romance, and there is sorrow. I can’t think of a way to summarize the plot without giving too much away. Instead, let’s consider it from a greater distance. Why read a story you suspect will break your heart? And why do you think it was so good when it made you feel so sad? Like all fiction, it’s vicarious. Real enough to evoke emotion, but not so personal that you can’t walk away. In fact, it’s a relief you can. Maybe it’s teaching a life lesson you don’t have to learn the hard way, let the characters take the hit. Still, some heartaches are worth the pain for those moments of joy that precede them. Figuring out which ones are which is the hard part.

As “Silent Days” by Karin Amatmoekrim opens, its hero, an 82-year-old woman, observes the world below and around her fourth-story apartment, uninvolved—a watcher. But the world intrudes on her silent solitude when the building’s owner and his wife begin to quarrel, loudly and violently, one flight below. The sounds and sight of her battered neighbor break the old woman’s reclusive trance, and she chances a meeting. “After that conversation, I was determined to help her. I had done nothing in my life for which I needed to be embarrassed, but also nothing to be proud of. This, as I neared my finish line, would be my gift to the world.”

“Soul Mates” by Christine Otten is based on an actual murder case in Amsterdam, so to say it’s a bit far-fetched could be fictitious. But it seems like it anyway. A twenty-four-year-old food delivery boy writes about the early-morning visit from the police, who wonder what he knows about the murder and dismemberment of his boss, the old Chinese cook who runs the Mercury Snackbar. He tells the two detectives nothing helpful, sharing his own theory about the real victim and the murderer with readers via his journal. It’s a bit too graphic and snarky for my taste.

Part 3: Touch of Evil The unifying element in this section is the movie’s title. In “Devil’s Island” by Mensje van Keulen, most of the story’s action takes place inside smoking groups where Amsterdam smokers gather to indulge their habit. Like dining on Amtrak, you never know who you might meet. Our narrator’s friend, Jacob, has had a devastating breakup with his girlfriend. In sympathy, he takes Jacob to dinner, and since Jacob smokes, stands with him in the smoker’s circle outside the restaurant while they wait for a table. Here they meet at art dealer who quickly mesmerizes Jacob with his accouterments of success and accounts of twisted deeds. Incredibly, Jacob remains with the hustler when their table is called, his fate clinched in a beguiling, evil snare.

“The Man on the Jetty” by Murat Isik begins with Metin’s memory of a man exposing himself in an elevator. Sometime later Metin and his pal Saleem are approached by a Spandexed biker asking directions. Saleem responds as recognition dawns on Metin: it’s the same guy. And the Spandex makes it easy to spot what’s still on his mind. The two boys run, but the biker gives chase until, at last, he turns away. When the boys tell Saleem’s Uncle Imran what’s happened, they can see his anger rise. The Dutch police won’t do anything about it. “In Pakistan, the cops would beat the shit out of a bastard like this guy. Then he’d never do such a thing again.” So Imran takes matters into his own hands. By the end, they’ve all been touched by evil.

What comes after a windfall? “Lucky Sevens” by Theo Capel gives us a few clues when Fetty Jollema wins fifty thousand euros in the lottery. While her cop friend Felix cashes in her ticket, she’s murdered. Felix is dumbfounded when he hears the news but recovers enough to ferret away the winnings in his safe. As the investigation advances, Fetty’s baggage and suspects emerge, along with their secrets. Capel delivers a satisfying taste of Amsterdam’s locals, locations, and universal evils.

“The Stranger Inside Me” by Loes den Hollander delves into our mentally ill narrator’s twisted reality. After dark, he’s visited by Ted Bundy who grooms him to continue the infamous serial killer’s work. “He came closer. ‘They stopped me,’ he said. ‘I want you to pick up where I left off.’” Hollander gives us the timeline for the first mission upfront, and since we know what’s coming, the tension accelerates along with each new paragraph.

Part 4: They Live by Night In “Seven Bridges” by Max van Olden, Lisa is the server on the tour boat Princess Beatrix that ambles down the Amstel River en route to Grachtengordel, the Canal District. She’s onboard for three runs, the last of which is the evening’s candlelight cruise. Their route slips by the houseboat of the new love of her life, Timo, and she breaks her attention from her duties, hoping to catch a glimpse of him whenever they pass. As she serves sightseers, her mind dwells on Timo and his predecessor, Stefan, with whom things ended badly. Olden weaves the Amstel River’s charms with Lisa’s rising doubts about Timo, as she endures the routine and isolation of the Princess on a cruise over dark waters.

In “The Girl at the End of the Line” by Abdelkader Benali, a Moroccan policeman investigates the murder of a young woman whose body is discovered at the city’s edge. Benali’s writing shines with memorable lines like “In my head, I divide Amsterdam into places where you can safely hide a body and places where you can’t.” And “Better drunk and in hell than sober among the hypocrites.” Benali’s cop advances the narrative with as much time spent in reflection as in active investigation, reminding us this case is only a moment of a journey that has no easy resolution.

The pace quickens considerably in “Get Rich Quick” by Walter van den Berg. A couple of goofy punks decide to carjack a serious chunk of cache and rocket toward their foregone conclusion. Berg delivers a fast-paced romp with snappy dialog, a love-struck gofer, and a femme fatale who’s the brightest bulb in the dim of Osdorp after dark.

“Starry, Starry Night” by Rene Appél & Josh Pachter put a gratifying cap on Akashic’s latest serving of noir. Vincent, who stands to inherit his father’s very profitable business of snacks and refreshment kiosks, makes the mistake of restocking in the wee hours at Museum Square. There, past meets present when three of his old party pals turn up looking to relieve their pill-popping boredom.

Like most anthologies, the quality of the stories in Amsterdam Noir vary—but only slightly. Overall, it’s a 5-Star excursion in noir fiction.