Twelve new short stories show the darker side of the City of Light.
In “Dr. Kirkbride’s Moral Treatment Plan,” Christina Milletti follows a patient in a crumbling old psychiatric hospital who insists her husband went into his study to write a book and never came out. Tom Fontana’s “It’s Only for Forever” describes a barroom bargain written and signed on a paper napkin. A rich man trying to beat a murder rap underestimates Lawrence Block’s dapper lawyer in “The Ehrengraf Settlement.” Dimitri Anastasopoulos presents a suspended crime-scene investigator and his layabout housemate living near the perpetually drifting bubbles of “The Bubble Man of Allentown.” A former vet who can’t live up to his father’s reputation finds rough redemption in Lissa Marie Redmond’s “Falling on Ice,” and a stuffed teddy bear is an unwitting decoy in S.J. Rozan’s “Parkside.” The hero of John Wray and Brooke Costello’s “Chicken Noodle’s Night Out” joins the entourage of a hometown music legend. In “Peace Bridge,” Connie Porter’s failed artist doesn’t foresee the consequences of buying a gun for protection. When Joyce Carol Oates’ lonely 15-year-old girl gives her algebra teacher a homemade valentine, it leads to a surreal journey amid a nighttime snowstorm in “Valentine.” A mother anxious for morning reassures her son with stories about a Buffalo landmark in editor Park’s “The Odd.” Lust for a vintage car motivates Gary Earl Ross’ “Good Neighbors,” and a chance discovery takes an unexpected turn in Kim Chinquee’s “Hand.”
From the Irish enclave of South Buffalo and a Niagara Street bar to a costly house in Nottingham Terrace and a once-grand Gothic structure in Elmwood Village, Buffalo’s past and present come to life in the offbeat, disturbing, and sometimes darkly comical tales by authors who really know their city.