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
We know a healthy appetite for well-written short stories exists and we want to help make things better. Our goal with Down & Out: The Magazine is to be a little different than other magazines by standing on the shoulders of the giants that have come before us, or at least tiptoe along the arrows in the backs of the pioneers of modern magazine publishing.
Each issue will feature a story based on a series character like this issue’s brand-new Moe Prager story by Reed Farrel Coleman. If you’re a fan of Moe, who is now retired, you’ll want to read this fantastic story.
We also have new tales by established and well-known writers. This debut issue includes series stories by Eric Beetner, Michael A. Black, Jen Conley, Terrence McCauley, Rick Ollerman, and Thomas Pluck. J. Kingston Pierce, fresh off his former beat from Kirkus Reviews, introduces “Placed in Evidence,” his non-fiction column only to be found here.
Finally, we’ll take a bit of the long road as we answer the question of what happened to crime fiction after Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler moved on from the pulps in “A Few Cents a Word.” This issue we re-introduce Frederick Nebel with the first of his Donahue series, “Rough Justice.” This is a fun one.
For fans of good writing, good literature, and good crime...welcome.
Anna Winger can know people better than they know themselves with only a glance—at their handwriting. Hired out by companies wanting to land trustworthy employees and by the lovelorn hoping to find happiness, Anna likes to keep the real-life mess of other people at arm’s length and on paper. But when she is called to use her expertise on a note left behind at a murder scene in the small town she and her son have recently moved to, the crime gets under Anna’s skin and rips open her narrow life for all to see. To save her son—and herself—once and for all, Anna will face her every fear, her every mistake, and the past she thought she'd rewritten.