Best New England Crime Stories 2013: Blood Moon–the Maine Connections

Hi. Barb here. Stopping by after a busy weekend spent co-chairing the New England Crime Bake. It was great to see so many Maine Crime Writers fans, as well as fellow bloggers Kaitlyn Dunnitt, Vicki Doudera, Kate Flora and Lea Wait. A terrific time was had by all.

With Crime Bake comes the launch of the latest edition of Best New England Crime Stories by Level Best Books–this year the 10th annual. It’s quite a tribute to the founding editors, including our own Kate Flora, that this little anthology has not only survived but thrived in a constantly shifting publishing landscape, presenting quality short fiction from New England authors for a decade.

As I did last year, I’d like to highlight some of the Maine stories and authors featured in the book which I co-edit and co-publish with Mark Ammons, Katherine Fast and Leslie Wheeler. You can buy Best New England Crime Stories 2013: Blood Moon from Level Best Books here, from Amazon here or from Barnes & Noble here. You can also order it from your favorite independent bookstore.

The Al Blanchard Award-winning story this year is “Out to Sea,” a dark mystery set on Monhegan Island. It’s late October and most of the summer visitors have left when Vivienne Jamison arrives on the island to settle her late sister’s estate. The author, VR Barkowski, is a third generation Californian, transplanted to Atlanta, who writes about New England. The editors are thrilled to have this story in the collection.

Regular readers of this blog know Kate Flora as an author of gritty police procedurals, mysteries with strong female protagonists, and the superb true crime book Finding Amy. But did you know Kate is also a prolific short story author? In “The Sounds of Silence,” the arrival of new neighbors causes a recently widowed woman to feel threatened in her rural home. Her late husband can no longer protect her–or can he?

Judith Green has chronicled the life of Margery and Tom Easton through ten stories published by Level Best Books. (One of them, “A Good, Safe Place” in Thin Ice was nominated for an Edgar® Award for Best Short Story.) This year’s entry, “Hit and Run” takes us to the time when Margery first met Tom, a long-haired young teacher clearly From Away. When a car accident threatens Tom’s job, Margery must clear his name to save their budding romance.

We were thrilled when Woody Hanstein‘s story “Endgame” in last year’s anthology was named by Best American Mystery Stories editors Robert Crais and Otto Penzler as a Distinguished Mystery Story of 2011. Hanstein’s confident voice and assured story-telling get us every time. In “Big Water” a by-the-book warden investigates a rafting accident on the Monhegan River and must determine what is truth–and what is justice.

My contribution this year is “House Calls” the story of a woman who returns to her hometown in western New York state for care for her mother who is suffering from cancer.  Alone and frightened, the woman finds comfort with  her mother’s charismatic oncologist.

As the introduction to this year’s anthology concludes, “Ten years is a long time for a labor of love like Level Best to last. Not just the love of editors past and present, but scores of authors and thousands of fans who’ve purchased and devoured these volumes. We’re honored to be part of this tradition.”

About Barbara Ross

Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. Her books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and have won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Portland, Maine. Readers can visit her website at
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6 Responses to Best New England Crime Stories 2013: Blood Moon–the Maine Connections

  1. Deanna says:

    Wonderful! I’m looking forward to it! Dee

  2. John Clark says:

    I’ll be ordering a copy for the Hartland Public Library. The popularity of this anthology is reflected by the massive # of due date stamps in the back of each as well (sadly) as the fact that one of the earlier ones was purloined by someone who subsequently moved and left no forwarding address…Maybe a story in the making.

    • Barb Ross says:

      John–If the one stolen is any one except the first two, I’d be happy to donate a copy to the library. I’ve heard Ruth M. McCarty has a secret stash of the second one in her basement. #1 I think is truly gone forever, except I did see one in a bookstore in Bath this summer!

  3. MCWriTers says:

    Barb–the original editors are thrilled that your team has continued this publishing project. I didn’t know much about writing crime stories when I started, but brilliant writers like Woody Hanstein and Judy Green have taught me so much about how to write with economy and still create stories with a strong sense of place and deeply rendered characters.

    It was no surprise to me when Judy was nominated for an Edgar, and my reaction to including Woody’s story on the list of 100 Best Crime Stories for last year was simply: What took them so long. He has a story called “The Spare” in one of the earlier collections, Windchill, that is just brilliant in the way it is superficially banal and slowly becomes deeply chilling, with a sudden, perfect, twist at the end.

    I would add that John Clark, our contributing librarian, has stories in some of the earlier collections that range from the light-hearted to terrifyingly dark.

    Can’t wait to read the new collection.


  4. Sherri Wright says:

    I am friends with Veva. How do I purchase a copy of this collection. TY

    • Barb Ross says:

      Hi Sherri-

      You can buy Best New England Crime Stories 2013: Blood Moon from Level Best Books here, from Amazon here or from Barnes & Noble here. You can also order it from your favorite independent bookstore.

      Thanks for asking!

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