Only the Good Die Young:
Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Billy Joel
edited by Josh Pachter
This is my third "inspired by" anthology, following The Beat of Black Wings: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Joni Mitchell and The Great Filling Station Holdup: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Jimmy Buffett.
As with the Buffett book, I decided to limit the contents to one story per studio album -- and, since Billy only released a dozen studio albums, that meant a dozen stories. For Jimmy, I focused on Florida authors, and for Billy I wanted to focus on New Yorkers, so I got stories from Richie Narvaez, Terrie Farley Moran, and upstater Jenny Milchman, plus one from Barb Goffman (who grew up on Long Island but now lives in Virginia) and a pair from next-door-neighbor New Jersey's Jeff Cohen and David Dean. Add to that old standbys Michael Bracken, John Floyd, and Robert Lopresti and new-to-my-projects Rick Helms and James D.F. Hannah -- plus me, also a former Long Islander -- and that made twelve.
As with my contributions to the Joni and Jimmy books, I took the cover song for myself. "Only the Good Die Young" is a one-off about a down-at-heels PI who's hired to bodyguard a down-at-heels woman he had a crush on back when they were both in high school.
Once again, Kristopher Zgorski did a cover reveal at BOLO Books, and the trade paperback and e-book came out on April 27, 2021.
In 2022, "The Downeaster 'Alexa'" by Michael Bracken was awarded the Best Long Story Derringer by the Short Mystery Fiction Society.
You can order the book from Untreed Reads, and it's also available on Amazon.
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