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That Uneasy Feeling

Here at AHMM we like stories that not only entertain, but that are also a bit unsettling. When you see another side of life through the eyes of characters in the gripe of crisis, after all, the effect should not be exactly soothing. And since this issue hits the stands in the midst of the Halloween season, it’s appropriate that a few of these stories also prey on our fears of the supernatural to induce that uneasy feeling. When you knock on our door, these are the kinds of treats we like to give out.

A bed-and-breakfast hosts a guest who claims she is on the verge of turning into a wolf in E. J. Copperman’s “Under a Fool Moon.” A returning veteran investigates the mysterious disappearance of a friend from high school in Bob Tippee’s “Pond Scout.” And a man who claims to have once been abducted by aliens feels threatened when a couple who also claim to have been abductees moves to his town in John F. Floyd’s “The Zeller Files.”

In Sharon Jarvis’s “Beam Me Up, Elsie,” a retired attorney assists an aging actor who is appearing at a science fiction convention when he’s charged with assault and possibly murder. A woman’s unconscious remark leads her husband to a reconsideration of events best forgotten in Jason Half’s “No Uncertain Terms.” And Dr. John H. Watson, on a mission to deliver a watch to a Russian count, unexpectedly arrives on the heels of murder in James Tipton’s “The Blue Palace.”

New Orleans detective Jacques Dugas investigates a grim discovery in O’Neil De Noux’s “The Split Man,” while Michael Bracken’s “Spilt Milk,” also set in Louisiana, involves a labor strike and murder. And Prohibition-era Mob conflict erupts in New York City in R. T. Lawton’s “Whiskey Curb.”

A musician who’s losing his hearing is found dead at his piano in an apparent suicide in John H. Dirckx’s “Finale in B Sharp Major.” P.I. Maggie Trevor is asked to provide security at a ritzy wedding in John C. Boland’s “Murder at the Keys Plantation.” Mark Thielman delivers a clever whodunit set in a community theater in “The Experimental Theater Company of Barbed Wire, Texas.” Rob Lopresti offers a battle of wits between attorneys when a wealthy builder is accused of murder in “When You Put It That Way.” And a citizen sleuth tracks down a man who purloined a beloved fiberglass status of a horse in Robert Mangeot’s “Know Thyself.”

It’s only by providing stories that both entertain and discomfit that we here at AHMM can rest easy ourselves.

Look for our November/December 2023 issue on sale at newsstands on October 17, 2023. Or subscribe to AHMM in print or in a wide variety of digital formats.

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