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The Go-Go’s made music on their own terms and gave voice to a generation caught between the bra-burning irreverence of the seventies and the me-first decadence of the eighties. Anthems like “We Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” and “Vacation” are an indelible part of our collective soundtrack, but more than that, they speak to the power and possibility of youth. Inspired by punk but not yoked to it, the Go-Go’s broke important musical ground by combining cheeky lyrics, clever hooks, and catchy melodies, perfectly capturing what it feels like to be young and female in the process.

 

But beyond the Go-Go’s effervescent sound and cheerful pop stylings, a darkness underlies many of their lyrics and melodies, hinting at the heartache and frustration inherent in growing up. In other words, plenty to inspire murder and mayhem.

 

Net proceeds from Murder-a-Go-Go’s benefit Planned Parenthood, a crucial provider of women’s affordable reproductive healthcare.

 

With a foreword by Go-Go’s co-founder Jane Wiedlin and original stories by twenty-five kick-ass authors, editor Holly West has put together an all-star crime fiction anthology inspired by one of the most iconic bands of the eighties and beyond.

 

Praise for MURDER-A-GO-GO’S:

 

“I always suspected that twinkle in the Go-Gos’ eyes was a coded invitation to a darker world. In the hands of these 25 stellar crime fiction writers, ‘We Got the Beat’ and ‘Our Lips Are Sealed’ become evil little gems. A totally rad read.” —Alan Hunter, Original MTV VJ, SiriusXM Host

 

“Shock and awe, that sums up my reaction to Murder-A-Go-Go’s. Shock to live in times when ‘The Whole World Lost Its Head’ and awe at the response of these gifted writers. Buckle up for a ride that will leave ‘Skidmarks on Your Heart.’” —Sara Paretsky, bestselling author of the V.I. Warshawski crime series

 

“Who knew those happy songs by one of all-time favorite bands, the Go-Go’s could inspire such dark, noir, spine-tingling stories?!! It’s a collection of tales of distinctly female rage—the murderous kind and otherwise—to keep you up at night!” —Alison Arngrim, TV’s Nellie Oleson and author of Confessions of a Prairie Bitch

 

“This is the music-driven anthology you didn’t know you needed, but after you read it, you’ll realize your bookshelf was lacking without it. This is a killer line-up of writers, and under Holly’s steady hand, they don’t play a single false note. Murder-A-Go-Go’s has got the beat.” —Rob Hart, author of The Warehouse

 

“Like the songs these writers used for muses, each story contains the energy of a pop group and the rawness of a punk band, with some of the darkness and vulnerability that underscores the Go-Go’s themselves thrown in for good measure.” —Steph Post, author of Miraculum

 

“The Go-Go’s spun some of the brightest, catchiest all-girl pop back in the day. But they always carried more weight than your average pop band: the burden of trailblazing and pioneering; the bad kids in the back of the class breaking all the rules and looking damn cool doing it. This collection commandingly captures that sweet subversion.” —Joe Clifford, author of The One That Got Away

 

“Beneath the pop stylings and sensibilities of the Go-Go’s pulsed the heart of a punk band. In this eye-opening anthology, some of the sharpest voices of contemporary short crime fiction tease out the aches and anxieties echoing through the groundbreaking group’s music: the dark sides of desire, the missed opportunities, the tangled regrets. These stories—they got the beat.” —Art Taylor, award-winning author of On the Road with Del & Louise: A Novel in Stories

 

“Holly West (editor)’s Murder-A-Go-Go’s is murderous fun from the first story to the last. Each masterful tale is distinctive, but this collection is so much more than the sum of its parts, infused with all the talent and skill of some of the best short story writers working in crime fiction today.” —Jennifer Hillier, author of Creep and Jar of Hearts


 

Nominated for the 2017 Anthony Award for Best Anthology/Collection

 

*** Proceeds from the sales of Unloaded will benefit the nonprofit States United To Prevent Gun Violence (CeaseFireUSA.org) ***

 

For the first time, more than two dozen crime and mystery authors have joined together to use the strongest weapon at their disposal—words—in a call for reasonable gun control in the U.S.A. In this collection you get all the thrills and excitement you come to expect from a great crime story, but without any guns.

 

From best sellers and writing legends to the brightest stars of the next generation of crime writers, the twenty-five authors here have taken pen in hand to say enough is enough. Gun violence has got to stop and this is our way of speaking out—by showing that gun violence can be removed from the narrative, and maybe from our lives.

 

It's not anti-gun, it's pro-sanity. And above anything else, these are thrilling crime stories that will surprise and shock, thrill and chill—all without a gun in sight.

 

The writers are from both sides of the political aisle and many of the authors are gun owners themselves. But everyone felt it was time to speak out. Featuring the talents of J.L. Abramo , Patricia Abbott, Trey R. Barker, Eric Beetner, Alec Cizak, Joe Clifford, Reed Farrel Coleman, Angel Luis Colón, Hilary Davidson, Paul J. Garth, Alison Gaylin, Kent Gowran, Rob Hart, Jeffery Hess, Grant Jerkins, Joe R. Lansdale, S.W. Lauden, Tim O’Mara, Joyce Carol Oates, Tom Pitts, Thomas Pluck, Keith Rawson, Kelli Stanley, Ryan Sayles, and Holly West.

 

Praise for UNLOADED…

 

“The 25 short stories in this thought-provoking theme anthology prove that clever crime writers can generate just as much mayhem, weirdness, and chills without the use of firearms.” —Publishers Weekly

 

In print for the first time, Monkey Justice collects the first stories of Anthony, Edgar and Macavity-nominated author Patricia Abbott.

 

These stories explore the dark side of human behavior and are more about victims than perpetrators of crime: a father oversteps his proscribed duties, a young woman awakens something dormant in an older man, a young man saves his family but loses himself, a boy is a stranger in his newly configured house, a man misunderstands the marital situation he is drawn into, a squatter pleads for our pity but in the end betrays it, two old men compete for attention in a nursing home.

 

The characters in Monkey Justice inhabit the harsh landscape of modern America. You can find them on any city block, on any deserted country road.

 

Praise for the works of Patricia Abbott:

 

“Patricia Abbott shows a rare and quiet mastery of the form. Any one of the stories is worth the price of admission.” —Reed Farrel Coleman

“The stories in I Bring Sorrow are electric and utterly amazing.” —Ken Bruen

“With cool compelling prose, Concrete Angel reveals the menace that lurks beneath a mother's charming facade.” —Meg Gardiner

“Patricia Abbott proves that there are many shades of noir as she expertly layers her stories with melancholy, loss and the frailness of the human psyche.” —Dave Zeltserman

 

“Patti Abbott is a master when it comes to short stories.” —Anne Frasier

 

“Abbott has a slyly wicked streak, and she uses overarching feminist themes to tell her dark, sometimes devious, and always sharp and socially conscious tales.” —Criminal Element

 

“Abbott's ability to create living, breathing characters is nothing short of amazing.” —Mystery Scene

 

“Abbott’s craftsmanship is on full display...with an underlying sense of tragic destiny in each of these selections. The pieces can alternatively leave one with a sense of despair or a tentative hope for better days.” —Library Journal, starred review

 

“Patti Abbott is one of the premier practitioners of the American crime story. The staggering level of care she invests in her craft is always evident from the first sentence to the last. She writes smart, dark tales with frighteningly real characters and vivid settings.” —Chris Rhatigan

 

This third issue of Down & Out: The Magazine features a new Jim Brodie story by Barry Lancet, whose novel Japantown has been optioned by J.J. Abrams and Warner Brothers for the Hollywood treatment. Here we have Brodie on a trip to his home in Japan and a quest to find out what’s going on with the yakuza and a perplexing kidnapping.

 

But first up is a story by Canadian favorite Peter Sellers; he delivers a nasty little crime story of love and loyalty in the workplace in his own unique style. Patti Abbott gives us a searing story proving once again how nothing torches the human soul like that of another person’s expectations. Art Taylor, one of the best and most prolific short story artists working today, makes his first appearance here with a relatively short tale reminiscent of the late great Richard Matheson. Speaking of legends, Robert J. Randisi shares a story from his “Rat Pack” series. Next a writer who makes words look as though they fit together far more easily than they actually do is S.A. Solomon with her tale of corporate Big Business and other vices. Writing partners Frank Zafiro and Jim Wilsky debut separate stories from their Ania series, actual prequels to the novels, the first of which, Blood on Blood, will be released in April by Down & Out Books. A fine noir tale by prolific author Michael Bracken helps round us out.

 

As usual we have another fantastic column by J. Kingston Pierce on the novels of the late Stanley Ellin, and for our “A Few Cents a Word” feature we present a discussion and a story by one of the hard-boiled school’s originators, Raoul Whitfield.

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