MURDER IN LA-LA-LAND
Publisher: Top (1st edition, May 2010)
ASIN: B0046ZRL6G (October 11, 2010)
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Edited by: Naomi Hirahara, Eric Stone and Juliet Blackwell with an introduction by Michael Mallory. Anthology committee members include Darrell James, Lori Wolf and Ashley Ream.
Contributing authors: Paul Marks, Jack Maeby, Pam Ripling, Jane DiLucchio, Gabriela Vazquez, Michael Mallory, Teri Nolan, Jude McGee, Patricia Morin, Kathy Kingston, Kathleen Piché.
The anthology features stories that reflect a Los Angeles experience rarely depicted by Hollywood, much less witnessed by the casual visitor. Los Angeles, the City of Angels, is home to Hollywood and Beverly Hills. It’s where everyone is auditioning for a part, and where lies and deceit come veiled as glitz and glamour. Join us, if you dare: view a vampire movie in our Forever Hollywood Cemetery, or take a walk along the concrete banks of the L.A. River. But watch your step. Murder brews within the micro-cosmic homeless communes that call it home and sometimes riffs on melodic waves from the jazz street musicians just down the block. Twelve stories of mystery, murder, and mayhem, from the authors of Sisters In Crime/Los Angeles will send you scrambling for a bus ticket home. But watch your back. As they say… “Nobody leaves L.A.”
Editor Juliet Blackwell said of Murder in La-La-Land: “The most difficult task, by far, was choosing amongst all the fabulous entries.” Says editor Eric Stone: “All too often anthologies of stories about Los Angeles play up the clichés about the place: Hollywood, the beach, palm trees, 1940s-style noir. So I thought it was important to try to get a mix of stories that dealt with other parts and aspects of the city, to help give a broader picture of this place. That’s one of the thematic things that I first looked for in helping pick the stories. Jack Maeby’s story, ‘Beethoven’s Last Chorus,’ is a good example of that. It’s contemporary, but set in South Central L.A. in the remnants of the once great music scene there. It is firmly rooted in Los Angeles and its history, but may come as a surprise even to people who live here. That sort of thing was my primary interest in terms of theme.
“Then, of course, like any good short story,” Eric notes, “the stories had to grab me as quickly as possible; ideally from the first sentence on, but certainly within the first three or so paragraphs. A short story that doesn’t have me hooked in some way by the end of the third paragraph is not going to be a great short story. It is possible that something might happen later that will turn it around and make it a good short story, but it isn’t going to be great.
“Some stories try to do too much; they are really thinly disguised book ideas. Short stories and novels are entirely different forms. So it was important to me that the stories weren’t too big – a slice of life, not the whole pizza. A story can deal with a big theme, but it needs to do it from a smaller point of view. Jack’s story did that, as did the other stories I edited: ‘Continental Tilt’ by Paul Marks, ‘Just Like Jay’ by Pam Ripling, and ‘This I Know’ by Kathy Kingston, as well as all of the stories that made it into the anthology.
“It was particularly pleasing that most of our submissions were from writers who either haven’t yet published a book, or who are just starting out,” Eric continues. “One of the things I’ve always loved about Sisters in Crime as an organization is how supportive it is of aspiring writers, not just established authors. This anthology really helps uphold that. The fact that it was put together from a blind submission process to fill the entire book, without anyone specifically invited by name to submit, is one of its strengths, as it is one of the organization’s.”