Category Archives: suspense

Dropped Dead

Creeping Siamese by Dashiell Hammett (1926)

Tuesday’s Detective Tale   May 24, 2022

A man stumbles into the Continental Detective Agency. He drops dead on the floor.  Stabbed in the left breast, the man’s wound is staunched with red silk—which seems to be a sarong.

If you love crime stories with ace detectives, then you must be a fan of Dashiell Hammett. This story is a cool little plot puzzle with imaginative clues. Good one!

“Hammett did over and over again what only the best writers can ever do at all. He wrote scenes that seemed never to have been written before.”  Raymond Chandler.

 

Read the short story here:

Click to access Hammett_Creeping_Siamese.pdf

Listen to other short stories by Dashiell Hammett (Creeping Siamese is not available in audio).

We like to remember Dashiell Hammett as the inventor of hardboiled detective fiction with brutal realism and wry humor. Hammett worked for the Pinkerton Detective Agency for eight years before he began writing his stories.  His first short story was published by The Black Mask in 1923.

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above for more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 250 short stories by more than 150 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

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Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

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Author of the Week, Charles L. Grant, April 11

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK  April 11

Charles L. Grant

American Author and Editor

(Short Stories and Novels: Quiet Horror and Dark Fantasy)

 

 

Grant was esteemed for building foreboding atmosphere, a slow burn of dramatic tension in his plots, settings, and characterization. His trademark is a story steeped in palpable dread with high suspense, yet without descriptive bloodshed or graphic violence. Thus, the beauty of  quiet horror. Grant wrote 70 novels, 150 short stories, and edited two dozen anthologies. A master in this subgenre that is still popular.

Grant is revered by Stephen King as an “autumnal writer” because the reader closes his book with far more than a scare. We read his stories and receive a deep sense of  awe, intelligence, and the imaginary that rises far above most other writers in the genre.

Charlie Grant will give you a story so memorable, you’ll want more.

 

“I like to set up as real a situation as possible, then twist it just enough and bring in whatever I want to bring in. It is more startling and entertaining to use real people with real-world problems.”

“The goal is not to scare people, just make them uncomfortable. I work to make you really, really nervous, so that it will take you a long time to get over it. I want to make you see shadows where there is no light to cast them.”

“If all the world’s a stage and all the people players, who in bloody hell hired the director?”

When asked why horror is so popular, he replied “It is a safe way of looking at death.”

Charles L. Grant (1942 – 2006)  received the British Fantasy Society’s Special Award in 1987 for life achievement; and he was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association, Nebula Awards and three World Fantasy Awards.

The Shadow Series is ten anthologies, including short stories by Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell, Robert Bloch, and many others. The first five novels he wrote didn’t sell but he went on to achieve great success and admiration. In cinematic terms, Grant is thought to have more likeness with the horror film classics of Val Lewton and Roman Polanski—Grant’s work strong on hinting at madness and violence, a writer certainly gifted at suggestion and subtleties. He and his wife, editor and novelist Kathryn Ptacek, had lived in a 100-year-old haunted Victorian house in Sussex County, New Jersey.

SlipofthePen.com

 

Podcast about Charles L. Grant at LovecraftEzine.com

https://lovecraftezine.libsyn.com/charles-grants-quiet-horror-chet-williamsons-sequel-to-psycho-and-more

[Personal Note: Because almost all my published fiction is quiet horror, and I read so much of it, I have a special place for Charlie. I did a blog on him in September 2013, link below. Another favorite quiet horror author is Shirley Jackson The Haunting of Hill House. And I can add Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black.]

Quiet Horror, Still the Darling of the Horror Genre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Charlie’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Charles-Grant/e/B000AQ1O8G

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays once a month at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 250 free short stories by over 150 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary or classic authors. Audios too.

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Crime of Passion and a Curse

The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde (1887)

Tuesday’s Ghost Story   March 29, 2022  READING FICTION BLOG 

 

 

Oscar Wilde is most famous for his The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), his comic masterpieces Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892) and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). Like much of his work known for its satirical brilliance, and even if you are not drawn to ghost stories, this one will brighten your day.

The Otis family members are spending the summer at the castle in Canterville, previously owned by British aristocrats Lord and Lady Canterville. A good part of the narrative is from the ghost himself Sir Simon de Canterville. And what a guy! Prepare yourself for a parody of Gothic fiction. Lightning storms, strange laughter, blood stains, hidden passages, crows that cry havoc, tea in the library with a secret hatch, and dashes of romance—and, of course, a murder. All this will beg the question: Is love stronger than death?

Very entertaining classic literature at its best. Oscar Wilde’s wit and realism, and his engaging characters are memorable both on the page and on the screen.

Read the short story here at Gutenberg.org

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/14522/14522-h/14522-h.htm

Listen to the audio on You Tube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0iIV9zSuDI

 

Watch the FREE film on You Tube (1:20 minutes). This 1997 movie was directed by Crispin Reece, starring Ian Richardson, Celia Imrie,  Sarah-Jane Potts, and James D’Arcy. There is another version, 1996, with Neve Campbell and Patrick Stewart, but this version I feature here is far better.

 

 

Oscar Wilde was born of professional and literary parents. His father, Sir William Wilde, published books on archaeology and folklore. His mother, who wrote under the name Speranza, was a revolutionary poet and an authority on Celtic myth and folklore.

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above for more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 250 short stories by more than 150 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading

one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

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Sunlight on the Grass

Tuesday’s Short Story, February 22, 2022

On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning

by Haruki Murakami,  Sunlight on the Grass Anthology

Why do we need stories? Author Robert McKee says that “stories transform life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience” and that this “work of art unites meaning and emotion … heightening your awareness and delivering a sureness of your place in reality.” 

In this short tale by Haruki Murakami, love becomes a miracle. Lovely, right? But will this dreamy moment ruin reality? Here, we go into that odd space that only Murakami can bring a reader, into the occasion of love plus imagination plus reality. Plus modern society’s romantic standards and our conscious prejudices.

We have the longing of a young man in search for his 100% perfect woman. He’s quite chatty in his thinking when he suddenly discovers this woman on the street in April. A cosmic miracle? Does he grab the event with both hands? Would you trust such perfection? Or is it only the idea of perfection? The risks in the modern fairy-tale-ish adventure won’t let your remove your eyes from the page until you’ve read the last line.

Read the short story (20 minutes) here at Genius.com:

https://genius.com/Haruki-murakami-on-seeing-the-100-perfect-girl-one-beautiful-april-morning-annotated#note-3756495

Listen to the audio (15 minutes). Just wonderful!

Haruki Murakami is a Japanese novelist. Haruki has received several noted awards for his fiction and non-fiction works. He was also referred to as one of the world’s greatest living novelists by The Guardian. Norwegian Wood (1987) is an extremely popular novel among the Japanese youth and abroad.  Murakami, an iconic figure of postmodern literature is known for his unreal and humorous work on the loneliness and empty mindedness of Japan’s work dominated generation. He now resides in The United States. Some of his favorite novels are F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye, and Franz Kafka’s, The Castle.

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

Monster Librarian

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

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Dabbled in Blood, the Masked Figure

Tuesday’s Short Story, January 25, 2022

The Masque of the Red Death  by Edgar Allan Poe (1842)

 

 

This month of January is the anniversary of  Edgar Allan Poe (birth January 19, 1809). What better time to mark our appreciation of this great writer than to read one of his stories?

The Masque of the Red Death is fast 20-minute read for readers who love supernatural and mystery. I think this story has a timeliness during this Covid pandemic when we are all wearing masks and where many of us wish we could run away to our private abbeys to stay safe.

“The “Red Death” had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous.”

Prince Prospero summons his dominions to his castle, an abbey in the far hills. Here the ‘gay society’ is safe to enjoy themselves in the seven rooms of different colors—which have its own mystery. We are at a masked ball with music and dancing, but who arrives? An uninvited mysterious figure. In the seventh room that is draped in black velvet with blood red window panes, our tale goes deep with supernatural, psychological, and horrific elements in grand Poe style. This is soooooo Gothic!

Read the short story at Gutenberg.org

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1064/1064-h/1064-h.htm

 

Listen to the audio read by Sir Christopher Lee:

 

Watch the film created at the University of Technology, Sydney for Media Arts and Production (15 minutes). Sweeping, baroque, and spooky.

 

 

Poe wrote in many genres. He was the first to include deep psychological and intuitive horror in his stories. His tales often reflect that the true monster of evil is within each person and what happens when that evil is acted upon. His most famous work is The Raven.

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories (some with audio), by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

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Author of the Week Deborah Harkness, October 11

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   October 11

Deborah Harkness

(Scholar and Novelist: Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Mythology, Paranormal, Supernatural)

 

“I definitely see my historical work as a process of detection. Historians fit pieces of evidence together and hope that they eventually form a coherent picture. Often, a historian’s most compelling questions—and the most difficult to answer—concern personal motivations and why something happened the way it did. These are questions we have in common with detectives.”

“Fiction is more like alchemy, though. You take a little of this, a little of that, combine it, and hope that something wonderful occurs so that your creation is greater than the sum of its individual parts.”

“We make our own monsters.”

“I’m a storyteller, and I have really good material to work with: I’ve been studying magic and the occult since about 1983.”

“A lot of our assumptions of the world are fairly cynical, fairly negative, and assume the worst. What our reading tastes show – in this rush to fantasy, romance, whatever – is that we actually still want to believe in a world of possibility, in a world of mystery.”

 

Deborah Harkness  is an American scholar and novelist. She is best known as the author of best selling novels A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life.  Before becoming a best selling author, she spent more than a quarter of a century as a student and scholar of history, with degrees from Mount Holyoke College, Northwestern University, and the University of California at Davis. She has researched  the history of magic and science in Europe, especially during the period from 1500 to 1700. Harkness’s scholarly work can be found in John Dee’s Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy, and the End of Nature (Cambridge University Press, 1999) and The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution (Yale University Press, 2007). She has received  fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the National Humanities Center.

 

Interview with Deborah Harkness, AuthorMagazine.org (10 minutes):

 

 

“A wonderfully imaginative grown-up fantasy with all the magic of Harry Potter and Twilight” (People Magazine).

“Romantic, erudite, suspenseful.” (The Oprah Magazine)

Trailer for original series Discovery of Witches, Season One:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Deborah Harkness’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Harkness/e/B001IO8EOQ

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

Leave a comment

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Author of the Week, Dan Simmons, August 9

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   August 9

Dan Simmons

(Short Stories and novels in Suspense, Noir Crime, Supernatural, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Historical and Mainstream Fiction)

 

“I knew that I wanted to be a writer even before I knew exactly what being a writer entailed.”

“There’s a unique bond of trust between readers and authors that I don’t believe exists in any other art form; as a reader, I trust a novelist to give me his or her best effort, however flawed.”

“I find that I write more slowly and carefully, even as the deadlines come more frequently. I’ve never been satisfied with the final form of any of my work, but the dissatisfaction may be deeper now — even as some of the quality goes up — because I know I have fewer years ahead of me in which to improve and make-up for my shortcomings.”

 

Dan Simmons (Born 1948)  is a multi-award winning American author.  His first novel, Song of Kali, won the World Fantasy Award; his first science fiction novel, Hyperion, won the Hugo Award. Most readers know him for winning four Bram Stoker Awards, among many other fiction prizes. One of his favorite authors is Charles Dickens (Drood). His short story The River Styx Runs Upstream was awarded first prize in Twilight Zone Magazine story competition. The Terror and The Abominable are his historical fiction novels.  Stephen King had significant praise for Simmons novels:  “Simmons writes like a hot-rodding angel.”

See all Simmons’ literary awards here, 35+  https://www.sfadb.com/Dan_Simmons

Dan Simmons Interview – Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy Podcast #96 (Discusses horror)

 

Steven Silver interviews Simmons on ScienceFiction.com:

https://www.sfsite.com/09b/ds160.htm 

 

The Crook Factory is about Ernest Hemingway while living in Cuba in the 1940s. Simmons states in the afterward that 95% of the novel is true. The story is a thrilling plot about an FBI agent and Hemingway’s amateur spy ring called Crook Factory in Cuba at the beginning of WW II. “Simmons spins, the zesty characters it entangles and its intricate cross-weave of fact and fiction .” Publishers Weekly

 

In A Winter Haunting, college professor and novelist, Dale Stewart,  has been followed to this house of shadows by private demons who are now twisting his reality into horrifying new forms. And a thick, blanketing early snow is starting to fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Dan Simmons Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Dan-Simmons/e/B000APQZD6/

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author

on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

Comments and LIKES Welcomed!

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Author of the Week, Anthony Horowitz, July 5

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   July 5

Anthony Horowitz

(Mystery, Suspense, Crime Novelist, Screenwriter, and Television Series Author)

“My writing has always been what you call ‘narrative fiction’ in the sense that it’s got very strong plots and twists at the end.”

“Throughout history, story-telling was at the very beginning of life.”

“I fear dying in the middle of a book. It would be so annoying to write 80,000 words and not get to the end. I’m phobic about it. So when I’m writing a book I leave messages all over the house for people to know how the story ends, and then someone can finish it for me.”

“I had three brilliant English teachers at secondary school. They found the writer in me.”

 

 

Anthony Horowitz (born 1955),  English novelist, screenwriter, and children’s novelist, has written more than 50 books including The Magpie Murders,  The Power of Five series, the Alex Rider series, The Diamond Brothers series, and has adapted many of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novels for TV.  He is the creator and writer of  Foyle’s WarMidsomer MurdersCollision, and Injustice.  Also the Hawthorne and Horowitz Mysteries: The Word is Murder; The Sentence is Death; A Line to Kill. In October 2014, the Ian Fleming estate commissioned Horowitz to write a James Bond novel, Trigger Mortis, and Forever and A Day. A third Bond novel is expected to be released sometime in 2022. An underachiever at school, Horowitz started writing at the age of 8 or 9 and he instantly “knew” he would be a professional writer.

 

Interview with Anthony Horowitz about Magpie Murders, film to be released in 2022:

 

Quickfire interview with Horowitz:

https://www.anthonyhorowitz.com/journalism/article/quickfire-interview-anthony-horowitz

 

 

 

 

View his profile page on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Anthony-Horowitz/e/B000AP7TDG

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at

Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a

FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

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Author of the Week, Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen), June 21

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   June 21

Karen Blixen

(Short Stories, Nonfiction, Memorist)

“Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.”

“God made the world round so we would never be able to see too far down the road.”

“We must leave our mark on life while we have it in our power.”

“I start with a tingle, a kind of feeling of the story I will write. Then come the character, and they take over, they make the story.”

“To be a person is to have a story to tell.”

Karen Blixen,  1885 to 1962, was a Danish author (pen name Isak Dinesen). A baroness, a farmer, a storyteller. Blixen wrote works in Danish, French, and English and is famously known for Out of Africa, her account of living in Kenya, and one of her stories, Babette’s Feast, both of which have been adapted into highly acclaimed, Academy Award-winning motion pictures. She was considered several times for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Most of her readers have known her to be a woman who fought for women’s rights at a time and in a country that challenged many female liberties.

“I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills” is the opening lines of  Out of Africa, that romantic adventure that has become a classic in literature and motion pictures.  If you’ve never seen the film, you can stream it easily and it’s a beautiful escape into the mind and imagination of Karen Blixen. If you are a fan of short stories, this is a writer to dive into.

(Karen’s study in Denmark)

In Karen’s home in Copenhagen, garden and bird sanctuary:

Out of Africa, behind the scenes:

 

The Paris Review’s Interview of Karen Blixen, The Art of Fiction:

https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4911/the-art-of-fiction-no-14-isak-dinesen

 

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on

Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story

by contemporary and classic authors.

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Author of the Week, David Baldacci, May 10

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   May 10

David Baldacci

(Fiction: Thrillers, Mysteries, Crime, Adventure)

“If I worried too much about publishers’ expectations, I’d probably paralyze myself and not be able to write anything.”

“What I do in my thrillers is to try and tell a story with characters you care about. A thriller can’t be just plot or just characters, it has to be a combination of both. I could concoct a really great plot but if I put in characters readers don’t really care about, they are not going to finish the book.”

“Why waste time trying to discover the truth, when you can so easily create it?”

Writing Tip: “Don’t know the ending before you start.”

 

David Baldacci (born August 1960) published his first novel, ABSOLUTE POWER, in 1996. A feature film followed, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 41 novels for adults; all have been national and international bestsellers and several have been adapted for film and television. His works of fiction include  The Camel Club, and The Innocent. Baldacci has also published six novels for younger readers.

 

David Baldacci Speaking at Book Event (20 minutes):

Baldacci’s Amazon’s page:

https://www.amazon.com/David-Baldacci/e/B000AQ0STC

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author every week at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

1 Comment

Filed under Author of the Week, crime stories, crime thrillers, detective fiction, fiction, fiction bloggers, literature, murder mystery, mysteries, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories online, short story blogs, suspense