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What loyalty do you owe and to whom? Family, friends, neighbors, community, society? Many of the stories in this issue explore the complicated demands of these bonds of blood and affection.

In “Glass” by James R. Benn, an uncle and nephew find their loyalty tested when a stroke of luck hands them the means to success. In R. T. Lawton’s “Gnawing at the Cat’s Tail,” the son of a warlord survives conflict with the aid of an unlikely ally. A teacher’s summer work draws unwanted attention from her landlord in “Ice Ice Baby” by Barb Goffman. In “Blindsided,” by Michael Bracken and James A. Hearn, a college football player must question his loyalty to a teammate.

During the Vietnam War, a sergeant stands up for his colonel in “Raining” by Peter Colt. In Robert Lopresti’s “Taxonomy Lesson,” an academic dalliance goes off the tracks. Set among the Haliwa community of North Carolina, a white writer opens up old wounds when he tries to track down a womanizer from the 50s in “Ju Ju” by L. A. Wilson, Jr. In the Western “No God West of Hays” by Eric Ruark, a compatriot turned foe of Wild Bill Hickok tries to rescue sisters abducted from a wagon train traveling the old Santa Fe trail. The small community where an artist and his wife have bought a lake house is less serene than the environment would suggest in John C. Boland’s “Paris Green.”

Wayne J. Gardiner examines the blowback from a police shooting in “A Hell of a Thing . . .” A neighborhood is plagued by a string of break-ins in “The Shoemaker’s Children” by Tom Savage. A tough teacher manages to leave behind a cryptic clue to the identity of his shooter in “The Map Dot Murder” by Mark Thielman.

Finally, we welcome Floyd Sullivan with “The Beano,” a story about the murder of a wealthy collector. Lee Lofland explains the complexities of grand juries in his Case Files column. Plus book reviews, puzzles, and more!

Our own loyalty, of course, is to our readers as we seek to bring you an exciting lineup of tales in every issue.

Look for our September/October 2021 issue on sale at newsstands on August 17, 2021. Or subscribe to AHMM in print or in a wide variety of digital formats.

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