The woman yanked on her dog's leash, "So she could, what, enter some cubicle at a slightly higher rate of pay? Hang her fucking Harvard diploma on the partitioned wall? She spends the next thirty-forty years learning how to short stock and steal people's jobs and houses, their 401(k)s? But that's okay because she went to Harvard. Sleeps like a baby at night, tells herself she's not to blame, it's the system. Then one day she finds a lump in her breast. And it's not okay anymore, but nobody gives a shit, honey, because you made your fucking bed. So do us all a favor and fucking die." - MOONLIGHT MILE, Dennis Lehane
Way back machine, Peabody and Sherman. The early toddler '90s. I remember I was scouring for reads and came across a review of Lehane's first novel A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR. The review was in the Irish Echo of all places. So, I bought the novel on that rag's recommendation and wham--I was hooked. I was so impressed by the debut novel that I wrote Dennis Lehane a letter saying if we ever crossed paths I'd buy him a beer. Much to my surprise Lehane wrote back (an actual letter mind you--a lost art as we cheerfully proceed to mere digitized clicks and grunts) saying it meant a lot--and definitely buy him a beer because being a writer was a lonely and rough path, that he had no idea where he was headed. It seemed so troubling at the time. When you think about it he was sort of pioneering the new school of p.i. fiction along with that Fugazi-soaked Greek god and a handful of others, taking it in radical tacks and turns, braving up against a canon of giants, challenging and recharging the genre with social criticisms that didn't just take your breath away--they ripped it from your chest (see above quote for example). Fast forward. A couple of years ago when Lehane breezed into Baltimore B'con unannounced and between some super sessions, he looked lost and asked someone next to me about the Block discussion. Guess I was so in awe I couldn't speak, not sure I was seeing what I was actually seeing. I recall turning back to the person I was talking to at the time and said, "Holy shit, that's Dennis Lehane." To which (author's name removed) replied, unimpressed, "Yeah, I've been meaning to read him..." Meaning to? I know, it's crazy, right? True story though. Onward.
KIERAN SHEA’s fiction has appeared in dozens of venues including Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Thuglit, Dogmatika, Word Riot, Plots with Guns, Beat to a Pulp, Crimefactory, and Needle: A Magazine of Noir ...as well as in some beefy-looking anthologies most of which will make you question the tether of his shiny, red balloon. To his self-deprecating astonishment he's also been nominated for the Story South’s Million Writers Award twice without sending the judges so much as a thank you note. He co-edited the satiric transgressive fiction collection D*CKED: DARK FICTION INSPIRED BY DICK CHENEY and his debut novel KOKO TAKES A HOLIDAY is out now from Titan Books. Kieran divides his time between 38°58′22.6″N- 76°30′4.17″W and 39.2775° N, 74.5750° W.