As we head into the new year, thoughts often turn to making resolutions. To drink more water maybe. (I often pick that one.) To exercise more. (I don't often pick that one.) Maybe to read more books. (That's a good one!)
Resolutions ultimately are about taking control over your life, improving things by effecting change, not waiting for someone else to do it for you. That make-it-happen attitude is great for real life. And it's also great for mystery protagonists. It's much more
Both my short stories published this year have characters who make things happen, for better or worse. In "Stepmonster," a woman blames her stepmother for her father's death, so she sets out to avenge him. In "The Best Laid Plans," the lifetime achievement honoree (LAH) of a mystery convention is dissed publicly by the convention's guest of honor (GOH) just weeks before the event begins. The LAH responds by saying nothing publicly, trying to appear the better person. But she also plans some non-lethal dirty tricks so that the GOH suffers during the convention. Or so she hopes.
www.barbgoffman.com and click on each story title from the links on the home page.)
Many other crime stories were published this year with protagonists who take charge. Here are a few from the anthology Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning (in which "Stepmonster" appeared):
- In "Cabin Fever" by Timothy Bentler-Jungr, a young woman trapped by a blizzard with her abusive boyfriend takes desperate action.
- In "Stormy, With a Chance of Murder" by Alan Orloff, a weatherman takes advantage of a bad rainstorm to try to win his ex-girlfriend back.
- In "The Last Caving Trip" by Donna Andrews, a reluctant caver seeks to rid himself of a frenemy.
- In "The Gardener" by Kim Kash, when a lawn-maintenance man mars her garden oasis repeatedly, an avid gardener strikes back.
- In "Parallel Play" by our own Art Taylor, a mother in a deadly situation learns how far she'll go for her child.
In the meanwhile, get busy on those new year's resolutions. I hope one of them involves reading.