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Bewildering Stories


A quarterly on-line magazine

reviewed by Henry F. Tonn

Winter issue, 2008

I am one of the few people I know who has read the entirety of War and Peace and Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War and actually found them exciting and engaging. Therefore, I have no qualms about admitting that I also like mysteries and thrillers where writing often takes a back seat to plot.

So it was with considerable glee that I stumbled upon Spinetingler Magazine, a Canadian online journal which has archives going back to 2005. The editors state that they publish stories categorized as mystery, thriller, suspense, supernatural, ghost, love, fantasy, or science fiction; however, the seven fiction selections in this latest offering seem to fall into the mystery and thriller category. Furthermore, the style of writing is conspicuously imitative of Dashiell Hammett and Mickey Spillane.

All seven fiction selections are fun to read. Absolutely delightful is “Sweetening the Pot” by D. A. Davenport, a quickly moving story in which an elegantly dressed, well-heeled woman confronts a low-class floozy about the affair she is having with her husband. Ms. Davenport’s ability to convincingly produce both elevated and trashy dialogue is notable.

Another good one is “A Simple Kindness” by Chris Holm, which concerns a man with the best intentions trying to help a beautiful woman in peril, only to discover that the lady in question is not what she appears to be (sound familiar?).

Included in this winter edition is a letter from guest editor Jack Getze, a profile of Getze, three author interviews, and no less than twelve book reviews, most of them in the crime fiction genre.

No one is going to accuse Spinetingler of producing great literature, but if you want a good read, this is the place. Run off a couple of stories and take them to bed. If you don’t have anybody to fool around with, or if the person you fool around with doesn’t want to, then a Spinetingler tale is a good second choice.

Copyright © 2011 by Henry F. Tonn

Editor’s note: Bewildering Stories would be glad to exchange links with Spinetingler if it had a Links page for that purpose.

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