The first issue of Switchblade is an intriguing mix of both noir and hard boiled fiction. The anthology is divided into two parts consisting of flash fiction and short fiction. Per the introduction written by editor Scotch Rutherford, the tales in this magazine share a common goal of killing political correctness as violently as possible while also entertaining the reader. Both goals are easily met in the first issue. Sensitive readers are warned that there is extensive use of adult language and/or adult situations. There is nothing cozy happening in these tales.
The flash section opens with an author who has been a long time favorite of this reviewer, Paul D. Brazill. His tales always feature characters in the thick of their own mess and Tony Fowler in “Getting Away With It” fits the bill from the first sentence. Crashing a stolen BMW is bad enough and then things really go downhill.
Jim J. Wilsky is up next with “Gut Wrenching.” Wayne Lee Parsons really needs a doctor. A towel and some duct tape are just not going to get the job done.
Prison taught Bobbie a few things. Max has questions in “Re-election” by Fred Zackel.
Daylight shinning into a bar is never a pretty sight and the Rumkey is no exception in “Primed” by Scotch Rutherford. Johnny owing Max instead is not an upgrade or is going to make things any better. Not there is any real choice for him or anyone else.
A kangaroo, a car, and a lot more is involved in the very short tale, “Urban Legend #223” by Susan Cornford.
After those five flash tales, it is on to the longer fare in the fiction section. The section opens with “The Stooge” by Tom Leins. Bradley Loomis is insane and needs to be put down like some sort of crazed wild animal. You have to do a lot of unsavory things working undercover and dealing with Loomis is just one of many.
Dave Williams died under the overpass last night. He was homeless. His family should know what happened in “Rats” by Liam Sweeny. The real world threw casted Dave out before the same thing happened to our narrator. He owes it to Dave to share his story.
Henry Eddie Nova has been coming to the home in Grosse Pointe to give the kid lessons for eight weeks now. He is supposed to be teaching the kid how to play in “That’s All Right Mama” by Steve Liskow. If the kid would practice, that would help. Everybody knows Henry Eddie Nova can play the guitar like nobody’s business. But, the kid is just not getting it.
The bright red Ferrari makes quite the statement in “A Taste For Danger” by Lawrence Kelter. So do two wise guys that step out of the car. Two of the biggest dirt bags Bensonhurst had ever produced are coming down the pier and getting on the boat. The Clip Joint is about to head into the evening sea with those two wise guys, a few other folks, and the latest batch of very expensive call girls.
There are submerged cars up and down Buffalo Bayou in Houston. Normally our narrator would be doing underwater work at oil rigs out in the Gulf. Then the layoff happened. The divorce happened. Now he is checking the cars for dead bodies and more in “The Apex Predator” by William Dylan Powell.
Nabih always makes a point to give Mr. K the nastiest twenty dollar bills he has. If he could find some cholera he would dip the twenties into that first before handing them over. He has his reasons in “North Creek Brown” by Preston Lang.
There are seven folks hanging out at the bar. Most of them are the regulars except for the stranger nursing his beer at a table in the back. Then the woman and her friend walk in and things start getting weird in “Stranger In A Bar” by Travis Richardson.
It is a cold night in Detroit and the casino has damn near cleaned out our narrator. He has five quarters left in “Killing Time So I Can Dig Myself A Deeper Grave” by Jack Bates. Then the old man shows up at the doors of The Big Wheel Casino. He just needs a little help in a tale that brings the first issue to a fitting close.
Switchblade: Issue 1, Volume 1 is a quality issue of gritty hard edged short stories. These are tales frequently filled with adult language and adult situations so sensitive readers should look elsewhere. These tales involve situations where things are headed sideways at best and into a wine filled gutter streaked with the blood of you and your enemies at worst.
While some folks have publicly complained about sloppy editing, I don’t agree. Most of what they are complaining about is actually stylistic choices made by the authors involved to tell their tales. My only complaint would be the very small typeface. Difficult to read on the iPad and nearly impossible to read in the Kindle for PC program, the typeface resisted all of my efforts to enlarge it.
If you like your reading with violence and dark edges, Switchblade: Issue 1, Volume 1 is definitely for you.
Switchblade: Issue 1, Volume 1
Editor Scotch Rutherford
eBook (also available in Print)
Material was picked up to read and review during a promotion by way of funds in my Amazon Associate account.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2018