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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Carolina Crimes: Rock, Roll, and Ruin By E. B. Davis


In Rock, Roll, and Ruin, twenty-seven mystery writers serve up musically-themed crime stories around situations as unique as your inky fingerprints. There’s the bad-boy rock star, dumber than dirt, evading all attempts to keep him out of jail. Casino robbers undone by tribal flutes. A 1950’s jukebox that summons the dead and disappears the living. Jealousy drives girl band shenanigans, while a victim of botched plastic surgery seeks vengeance. Untimely deaths abound: at the prom, on a soap opera set, on a mountain-side hike. Several domestic “disagreements” are far from cliche: one wife is impatient and greedy; another wants her Stevie Nicks albums back; a third is desperate to get her husband to turn down the volume. Elvis fans will be tickled by the many mentions of the King himself, including an over-the-top fan club and a side-kick named after his dog. Whether trudging through snow in an Alaska forest, humming country music at a boatyard in Florida, playing sleuth at an assisted living facility, or stumbling backstage at the opera, irate, despairing, and deceived characters step into crime with barely a second thought.

Rock, Roll, and Ruin is a music-themed anthology of the Triangle, North Carolina chapter of Sisters in Crime. Some stories are cackling-out-loud funny, others are wickedly dark, but all are entertaining, original, un-putdownable. As Hank Phillippi Ryan writes in the Introduction, “Dip in to this concert of mystery, open to any story, and you’ll sing a chorus of approval.”


The Triangle, North Carolina chapter of Sisters in Crime has published three Carolina Crimes anthologies. I have been fortunate to have stories in two of these volumes. Writing to theme to me is fun and sort of like homework—you are given a specific task and can fulfill the assignment in any way you want, but it’s got to fit the theme and there is a deadline. You also have to take direction from the editor, Karen Pullen.


Karen had a better vision of my short story than I did. I wish I had relinquished my vision without her having to convince me, but then if I hadn’t believed in my story, it probably wouldn’t have been any good. Thank goodness, I finally saw that her version bettered my story.


Was the story based on reality? Somewhat. I’m an old Stones fan (how can anyone be otherwise) and my husband is a Stevie Nicks fan (not that I’m not, but as a guy, he’s dedicated to Stevie much more so than I am—likewise, he isn’t quite the Keith Richards fan that I am.) That’s where reality ends and fiction begins. There’s a divorce, a division of assets including record albums, a dog used as a negotiation tool, lies, an arrest on multiple counts, and luckily for the arrestee—personal autographs that help prove innocence and push a compromise on a vindictive spouse. That’s all I’ll say.


The forward was written by Hank Phillippi Ryan, who needs no introduction. The anthology is dedicated to Margaret Maron, a North Carolina writer and chapter member who died last year. Her The Bootlegger’s Daughter series along with main character Deborah Knott and Maron’s first series, Sigrid Harald, a New York City police detective series, will not be forgotten soon.


Here’s a list of the anthology’s stories. And here’s the link: Carolina Crimes: Rock, Roll, and Ruin.                                                                                          E. B. Davis

                                                                                                                    Hatteras Island, NC


Songs of an Angry God by E. Senteio

The Thursday Night All-You-Can-Eat Elvis Everlasting Club by Ruth Moose

Rock and Roll May Take Your Soul by James Michael McGuffey

Stevie and Keith for the Save by E. B. Davis

Sweet Dreams by Gina Lea

All About Evie by Polly Iyer

The Vigil by Toni Goodyear

A Death at the Opera by Judy Fowler

Shaggy Dog, Shaggy Puppy by Bonnie Olson

Delilah by Kari Wainwright

With a Side of Star by Jennifer Lowry

The Twist by Kathy Heady

Morrocco Rococco by Carolina Taylor

Bitter Truth by David Goldston

The Day the Migraine Died by Kerry Peresta

Duet by Jennifer Riley

Hound Dog by Jamie Catcher

Lips Don’t Lie by Bonnie Wisler

Rock ‘n’ Roll Never Forgets by Karen McCullough

The M and M’s Mystery by Noelle Granger

The Sound of Murder by Marni Graff

Soundtrack to a Death by Kate Parker

Fickle Mistress by Lawrence Kelter

Past Connections by E. J. Murray

A Funny Face by Karen Pullen

Falling Star by Jacy Sellars

The Day the Music Died by Pamela Raymond



KM Rockwood said...

Sounds like a great addition to my "one short story before bedtime" habit!

Jim Jackson said...

Congratulations, EB on having your story included -- and in understanding the wisdom editors can bring to create the best for your story. Not all authors are wise enough to step back and listen to what others suggest.

Karen Pullen said...

Indeed, many people are passionate about their albums! You tweaked your first version only a little--it was a solid story from the start, and a really fun read. Thanks for the post, EB!

E. B. Davis said...

Great idea, KM. A short before bedtime--except if I wake up in the middle of the night. No saying how much I read in the wee hours.

Thanks, Jim. I'm embarrassed that at first I was dismayed at Karen's remarks. But she challenged me to a rewrite. After I got into it and reread the story with her guidance, I realized how right she was. Which is why no one should be their own editor!

Lori Roberts Herbst said...

Oh, I'm so looking forward to this. I love anthologies, especially the mystery variety!

Kait said...

Congratulations! Preordered and looking forward to reading the stories.

Molly MacRae said...

Really enjoyed this anthology, E.B. Congratulations on a winner!

Shari Randall said...

Congratulations EB! Looks like a terrific anthology. The titles alone have pulled me right in.

EJ Murray said...

I just received my copies and am working my way through this fascinating anthology! Congrats on your story!

Polly Iyer said...

Nice promo piece, E.B. Congratulations to all involved.