Wait, that doesn't seem right.
Anyway, Eric Beetner's short story collection, A Bouquet of Bullets, in many ways harkens back to golden age of pulp writers. This is narrative-driven stuff flavored with cordite and regret.
I had read several of these before, such as "My Asshole Brother," "What the Dog Saw," "Countdown," and "Why Are Mommy and Daddy Fighting?", but they proved entertaining and interesting the second time around. Beetner's smooth storytelling style is a joy to read and I burned through these quickly.
He has a knack for the classic stories that would be boring in a less capable writer's hands. Two stories about that well-worn subject, the hit man's retirement--"The Last Bullet" and "Hit...Me"--proved to be some of the best in the collection. At his best, Beetner's work is moving without being sentimental.
This is particularly true of the closing story, "Without a Body, There Is No Crime." The term chilling is over-used, but if you read this story, I think you'll agree that at the end, you feel physically colder than when you started it. It's probably the most convincing "harmless teenager morphs into killer" story that I've read.
This one from Snubnose Press is a steal at only $1.99 at Amazon.