One of the panels at the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival was about marketing, and one of the topics that came up at the panel on marketing was vlogs, and the moment I heard that word, I thought of Carsen Taite. If you've not had a chance to watch any of her vlog entries, you should take a moment to bookmark her YouTube site where they are gathered. They're a mix of hints, tips, interviews, humour, giveaways... you name it, Carsen Taite has vlogged it. They're always interesting, always entertaining and... Oh. Hey.
There's me! In New Orleans, Carsen was kind enough to have a quick video interview with me outside the Hotel Monteleone, and it was a blast. She's a fantastic interviewer - you're never left hanging, and she's so damn adorable and clever, a kind and warm-hearted pixie.
But you'd never guess that from her short stories.
"Boomerang," by Carsen Taite
This tale - found in Women of the Mean Streets: Lesbian Noir - features Luca Bennett (who I believe also stars in Taite's sixth novel Slingshot). Luca is a tough bounty hunter in a tougher position - some choices with consequence have left her right on the wrong side of no money, and when a case is handed to her, it's simply not an option to refuse.
That the case involves tracking down Diamond Collier - who definitely lives up to the beauty of her name - is no hardship, but Bennett soon realizes that like most things beautiful, something isn't what it seems. Bennett is a great character who arrives fully formed within the first few moments you meet her; that's a trick that it takes a lot of skill to pull off well. Even more, writing a mystery in a short story format is doubly vexing - I've mentioned that before, but with such a brief space to create a conundrum, authors really have no wiggle room, and every moment in "Boomerang" is purposeful, atmospheric, and confounding. The tale lives up to its Noir collection, and is definitely a favourite in the anthology.
This is the second short story of Carsen Taite's I've read. The first was The Zealous Advocate from Night Shadows, which was absolutely chilling. This is why I love short fiction - it always leads to buying more anthologies and novels.