A travelling salesman vanishes, leaving behind a wife, two children, countless lonely housewives and his hat floating in a stream. But what really happened to Jack Bryce?
Read an excerpt.
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- Payback Time is a short story of 1650 words, Gone is a story of 700 words. Both stories is also available as part of the collection Murder in the Family along with seven other short crime stories.
- The origin of Payback Time was an exercise I developed for a student I was tutoring. Whenever possible, I try to come up with exercises that tell a story. I liked this one enough that I reworked it into a proper short story.
- When I presented Payback Time to the university creative writing workshop, it received critiques that the mafioso’s dialogue wasn’t believable, because he didn’t sound like Marlon Brando in The Godfather. The critique did have a point in that the dialogue in the original draft was a bit stilted. Nonetheless, a lot of people seem to have problems comprehending that The Godfather was not a documentary.
- Gone was originally written for a flash fiction contest on Jay Lake‘s blog. The prompt for that contest was a photo of a hat floating in a mountain brook. Gone never made it into the finals, but I liked the story enough that I reworked it and included it in Murder in the Family.
- Gone also ties in to an as yet to be finished and published contemporary romance novel. It’s basically the family background of the heroine.
- The cover is a stock photo by Tim and Annette Gulick and shows a barber shop in Mexico. I chose it because I love the somewhat old-fashioned and dingy look of the shop. I looks just like I imagine Joe’s shop would look.
- Here is an unused cover image for Payback Time, using a stock photo by Italian photographer Alexander Wallnöfer.