Michael Bracken


Opening Lines

Pulp Adventures No. 28 back cover

“Once people know you’ve taken your clothes off for money, they never treat you the same.”
“My Stripper Past” by Michael Bracken Pulp Adventures No. 28 Winter 2018

Michael Bracken’s “A Matter of Policy”

Mike Shayne Feb. 1985

Excerpt from Michael Bracken’s interview for The Digest Enthusiast No. 8:

TDE: Another Shayne story, “A Matter of Policy,” about a crooked claims adjuster, is tightly plot-ted, with elements that all come together by the story’s end. Are you a plotter or pantser? What’s your writing process today and how has it evolved over the years?

MB: I had to reread “A Matter of Policy” because I didn’t remember it, and I was pleasantly surprised how well the story holds up after all these years.

Alas, nothing in my notes reminds me how this story came together, so I’ll talk more generally about my process.

I am a combination plotter and pantser—a plantser, if you will. Many of my stories begin when I write an opening scene that introduces a character or characters and an inciting incident. Too often, that’s all I have. Then the story sits—sometimes a few days, but occasionally several years—before
I return to it. I may then plot the next few scenes or the entire balance of the story before continuing the writing. So, I often begin a story as a pantser and finish it as a plotter.

Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine Vol. 49 No. 2 Feb. 1985
Hal Blythe & Charles Sweet writing as Brett Halliday “The Quick and the Dead”
Mike Taylor “The ‘B’ Murders”
Stewart Street “Music Man”
Joseph A. Sekelsky “The Charm Bracelet”
Mel Washburn “Sweet Sister”
Alan Warren “Smithereens”
Michael Bracken “A Matter of Policy”
Richard Connolly’s Purloined Letter (art quiz)
Lane Marsh “A Delicate Situation”
John Ball’s Stiff Competition (book reviews)
Best By Mail (classifieds)

Publishers: Edward & Anita Goldstein
Editor: Charles E. Fritch
Art Director: Robin Schaffer
Founder: Leo Margulies
Cover: Pecoraro
5.25” x 7.75” 130 pages $1.75

Michael Bracken: Excerpt from the Interview

MSMM Oct. 1983

In his interview for The Digest Enthusiast No. 8, Michael Bracken gives us the background on one of his early stories:

“Vengeance to Show in the Third,” my first appearance in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine (October 1983), was heavily influenced by reading a great many Dick Francis novels, and I was clearly trying to write an American Dick Francis story. At the time I wrote the story, I lived in southern Illinois, near a racetrack where I placed several losing bets, but I had a personal connection as well. My first wife grew up riding English and, through connections made in that environment, knew people who owned race horses, and she briefly worked as a groom.

In a way, that describes how I do a fair bit of my research: use personal connections. If I don’t have the necessary personal experience and I can’t find what I need with an Internet search, I reach out to friends and family. Additionally, other writers are a great resource, and I have tapped them for information about Catholicism, the odor of a fired handgun, and the like.

Weird Menace Vol. 2

Weird Menace Vol. 2

Mel Odom “The Spider-God of Nauru!”
Keith Chapman “Lust of the Cave Spirit”
Michael Bracken “Attack of the Nazi Snow Warriors”
Paul Dellinger “Ghost Writer”
John McCallum Swain “The Hades Mechanism”
Ray Lovato “Howl of the Werewolf”
About the Authors

Rough Edges Press
Editor: James Reasoner
Cover Design: Livia Reasoner
6” x 9” 178 pages
POD $9.99 Kindle $2.99

Tough Crime Stories No. 2

Tough Crime Stories No. 2

Michael Bracken “Itsy Bitsy Spider”
Thomas Pluck “The Third Jump of Frankie Buffalo”
Matt Mattilla “Day Planner”
William R. Soldan “Tally Ho”
C.A. Rowland “Beach Body”
Nick Kolakowski “Viking Funeral”
Andrew Welsh-Huggins “Long Drive Home”
Rob McClure Smith “Masonry”
Tia J’anae “Once Upon a Time in Chicago”
S.A. Cosby “The Grass Below My Feet”
Evelyn DeShane “No News is Good News”
Alec Cizak “The Bag Girl”
Preston Lang “Sarah, Sweet and Stealthy”
Chris McGinley “With Hair Blacker Than Coal”
Mary Torson “She Goes First”

Tough Crime Stories No. 2
Redneck Press
Editor/Publisher: Rusty Barnes
Contributing Editor: Tim Hennessy
Associate Editor: Rider Barnes
Design: Sue Miller
190 pages, 5” x 8”
POD $14.95
Tough website

Hardboiled No. 9

Wayne D. Dundee “Straight from the Shoulder Holster”
Joe R. Lansdale “By Bizarre Hands”
Daniel Rowe “The Dispeptic Diogenes”
Hal Charles “The Peacemakers”
Michael Bracken “Partners” (Nathaniel Rose)
Max Allan Collins “Mourn the Living” (Part 2 of 4; Nolan PI)
Will Wyckoff “A Christmas Story”
Charles Hoffman’s Ninja: Hardboiled Comics for the Eighties
Paul Bishop “Day of Asphalt, Day of Guns”
Wayne D. Dundee “Dirty Business” (Joe Hannibal)

Hardboiled No. 9 Winter/Spring 1988
HB Enterprises
Editor: Wayne D. Dundee
Cover by Kevin Farrell
6” x 9” $2.95

Tequila Sunrise

In his interview in The Digest Enthusiast No. 8 (June 2018), Michael Bracken gave a brief character sketch of detective Rose:

“Nathaniel Rose is a St. Louis-based private eye who made his first appearance in “Partners” (Hardboiled, Winter/Spring 1988), and all seven Rose stories are collected in Tequila Sunrise (Wildside Press, 2000).”

For more about Rose, visit his page on Thrilling Detective.
Image and data from Galactic Central.

Mike Shayne Aug. 1984

Mike Shayne Aug. 1984

Excerpt from Michael Bracken’s interview in The Digest Enthusiast No. 8, June 2018:

TDE: Your secret agent character, Christian Gunn, appeared in Mike Shayne (Aug. 1984) and again in Espionage (Feb. 1985). Was he ever used again?

MB: The fall of the Berlin Wall and the demise of both Espionage and Mike Shayne ended Gunn’s career.

Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine Vol. 48 No. 8 Aug. 1984
Brett Halliday “Shadows of the Past”
Amy E. Dean: How Crime Plays
Peter A. Sellers “Loss of a Faculty”
Buzz Dixon “Spiders”
Michael Bracken “With Extreme Prejudice”
Ray Bradley “The Bus Bandits”
Arthur Moore “Bird Bank Bingo”
Lane Marsh “First Security”
Mel Washburn “To Forgive is Human”
Richard E. Givan “The Curious Case of the Dead-Drunk Driver”
Ardath Mayhar “Knit Lady”
Vicki Shaull Carleton “The Prison Letters”
Mike’s Mail
Best by Mail (classified ads)

Publishers: Edward & Anita Goldstein
Editor: Charles E. Fritch
Art Director: Robin Schaffer
Founder: Lou Margulies
5.25” x 7.75” 130 pages $1.75

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

Ellery Queen Jul/Aug 2019

Ellery Queen Jul/Aug 2019

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Jul/Aug 2019 Vol. 154 No. 1 & 2, Whole No. 934 & 935
Vicki Weisfeld “New Energy” art by Mark Evan Walker
Kristopher Zgorski: Blog Bytes
Jon L. Breen: The Jury Box
Richard Helms “The Cripplegate Apprehension”
S.J. Rozan “Left for Dead”
Takemaru Abiko “A Smart Dummy in the Tent” (Passport to Crime) Translated from the Japanese by Ho-Ling Wong. Adapted by John Pugmire.
Trey Dowell “Heat”
Michael Bracken “Oystermen”
Marilyn Todd “The Day of the Jackal”
V.S. Kemanis “Dzintra’s Tale” Transcribed and translated from the Latvian by Arvids Kraulis.
Aoife Clifford “Crossing Bridges”
Peter Turnbull “There Are Just Some Things a Rat Won’t Do”
Chris Holm “Murderers’ Row”
Tara Laskowski “The Long-Term Tenant” (Black Mask)
Brendan DuBois “Her Sister’s Secrets” art by Laurie Harden
Twist Phelan “Rude Awakening”
Dean Jobb: Stranger Than Fiction (preview)
Steve Hockensmith “Do Not Disturb”
Tony Fisher “Tingo” (Dept. of First Stories)
James Hadley Griffin “Rionach, My Queen” (Dept. of First Stories)
Classified Marketplace
R.T. Raichev “The Mysterious Affair at Osiris House”

Publisher: Peter Kanter
Editor: Janet Hutchings
Associate Editor: Jackie Sherbow
Senior Director Art & Production: Porter C. McKinnon
Senior AD: Victoria Green
Cover: Simon Prades
192 pages
$7.99 on newsstands until Aug. 20, 2019
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