Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles Presents LAst Resort by Matt Coyle, Mary Marks, Patricia Smiley and Michael Connelly (Introduction)

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Last ResortSince 1997, Sisters in Crime has published anthologies of members’ crime fiction works. Each collection was well received with their newest addition, The LAst Resort as no exception. A stunningly extraordinary collection of fiction shorts, the book overall, combines elements that make for a deliciously wicked elixir of potently intriguing portrayals of lives at their last resort, near drowning, immersed in the murky waters of the underbelly of morality that thrives in Los Angeles.

Stocked with sixteen stories from varied and well known mystery authors, each tantalizes the imagination with a population of perfectly flawed characters that come from all walks of life; they are mothers, husbands, the elderly, young adults, the middle aged, strippers, waitresses, businessmen, general scumbags, actors, the rich, as well as the poor with each creatively using Los Angeles as an inspired backdrop. Entanglement abounds as each of the short stories weave an individual web that ensnares readers with portrayals of interludes of tantalizing visions rich with darkly violent imagination, brimming with mystery, and intersecting junctures where desperation, corruption, perversion, self ruination, rage and paranoia collide, creating addicting reads wholly engaging to the last word.

What really makes this book a success is that the shorts are written by expert storytellers who share a well-honed knack for exposing lives during their most unfortunate or fortunate times. No two narratives are remotely similar in circumstance or characterization, with each story, bringing focus to something different to the tale that twists, turns and maneuvers within the dark side of the human psyche. Albeit, while all the stories in this work presented great engaging reads, there were some that (to me) stood out as absolutely phenomenal reads, like; Eggs Over Dead, by Wendall Thomas (my personal favorite) which artfully portrays a waitress who assures that karma gets served. Also, Laurie Stevens’ The Ride of Your Live where a man at the end of his wits gets more than he bargained for during a car jacking. As well as, Method Actor by GB Pool who portrays an actor not ready for prime time. And L.H. Dillman’s Lead Us Not Into Temptation which examines the ever debated question “nature or nurture” for one woman.

Altogether, the stories made a fascinating collection of fiction shorts each entertainingly, exceptional and twisted. Lovers of mysteries and/or crime thrillers will enjoy reading Sisters in Crime Los Angeles Presents: The LAst Resort, it will not disappoint.