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Switchblade No. 2

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William Dylan Powell’s Deep Ellum

Switchblade issue two

Stories from Switchblade No. 2, edited by Scotch Rutherford:

Stanley Dunlop, deadbeat writer, is ushered back to his fleabag apartment at knifepoint by a mugger fresh out of the can in William Dylan Powell’s “A Death in Deep Ellum.” The unspoken contest of (dim) wits is entertaining and funny and ends with a neatly tied ribbon.

S.E. Bailey’s Talent for Killing

Switchblade issue two

Stories from Switchblade No. 2, edited by Scotch Rutherford:

Rival mobs vie for territory in S.E. Bailey’s “A Talent for Killing.” Like the previous yarn (“My Brother’s Keeper by Rob T. White), the protagonist is captured and tortured, recalling the events that brought him to his deadly predicament. The horrors to come are both imminent and twisted. Bailey builds the tension in “Talent” nicely, and the opening inner monologue about killing in battle is excellent.

Rob T. White’s Brother’s Keeper

Switchblade issue two

Stories from Switchblade No. 2, edited by Scotch Rutherford:

The protagonist in “My Brother’s Keeper” by Rob T. White, wakes to a living nightmare, bound and gagged by a couple of masked strangers intent on torture. As he drifts in and out of consciousness between sessions, he slowly pieces together a possible reason for this horror. Thankfully, there’s more to this story than its cringingly vivid action.

Paul Greenberg’s Next Stop Hell

Switchblade issue two

Stories from Switchblade issue two, edited by Scotch Rutherford:

The first wrong decision is often when things turn noir. In the case of Paul Greenberg’s “Next Stop Hell,” we join human disaster, Lou Peterson, fully formed. He craves only the next swindle, swill, or slaughter, a momentary thrill that leaves him wanting another. Naturally, things end badly in this violent, compelling character wreck.

Carmen Jaramillo’s Long Arm

Switchblade issue two

Stories from Switchblade issue two, edited by Scotch Rutherford:

Carmen Jaramillo reaches for justice in “The Long Arm,” a tightly-crafted yarn about long- and short-term thinking—all of it bad. Rolly Walden found the Lord in Joliet. Little Mary found Rolly in a Minnesotan mining town watering hole. The only question between this pair is, “Who’s the stranger?”

And speaking of indie pulp digests, EconoClash Review’s Editor/Publisher posted the first review of The Digest Enthusiast No. 9 on Goodreads. Thanks JD!

Charles Roland’s Profski Gets It

Switchblade issue two

Stories from Switchblade issue two, edited by Scotch Rutherford:

“Profski Gets It” by Charles Roland opens with a short, gross prelude, meant to set the mood. Fortunately, this PI procedural takes off directly after, along with Profski, for New Orleans. When a Milwaukee runaway stops texting her younger sister, an infernal alarm finally triggers her parents to hire Profski, after the NOPD comes up clueless. Profski follows each new lead further into more dubious locales. Roland paints a beautifully gray picture of where second-thoughts should never let us go. An issue highlight.

Renee Asher Pickup’s Salsa Verde

Switchblade issue twoStories from Switchblade issue two, edited by Scotch Rutherford:

“Salsa Verde” by Renee Asher Pickup gives a first person account of a robbery in-progress for the spoils of an earlier heist by the narrator and her partner. Good idea, good action, and good dialogue—that’s an anaphora, the repetition of a word or phrase that begins every clause. Unfortunately, there’s one in “Salsa” too. “It’s my job to do this,” “It’s his job to do that,” recurring often enough to call attention to itself; which for me, broke the story’s otherwise natural flow.