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Blogging the Black Lizard Anthology of Crime Fiction #1: The Used
"The Used", by Loren D. Estleman, is a strong start right out of the gate. Estleman's story is short and sharp. It follows the final hours of a mob accountant who agrees to testify against his boss for the Feds, only to have his testimony go awry and his chance of relocation to Iowa literally get shredded in front of him. Like any cornered animal, the accountant turns dangerous, but he's not quite dangerous enough.
Estleman hits all of the right notes, and does a good job of ratcheting up the tension in what is a short, short story. There are no surprises here, and it pretty much ends exactly the way it has to, but it's satisfying nonetheless.
In my copy of the anthology, someone underlined a series of words in this story. They are, in order:
When I edited the first one I had a limited budget. The second one is much bigger and contains two full length novels as well as twenty short stories. Unfortunately few copies ever left the warehouse. Black Lizard was sold to Random House and Random had no interest in picking it up.
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