If you've been following the weekly Friday's "Forgotten" Books feature on this blog, you'll know that it was the brainchild of blogger Patti Abbott, who coordinates all the entries. But Patti is also a very fine writer of short crime fiction and has a new collection of twenty-three of her stories all in one place from Snubnose Press, titled Monkey Justice.
Patti passed along the following note about her brand-new project:
I want to thank Bonnie for inviting me to say a few words about my collection of stories, Monkey Justice, on her blog. In Reference to Murder is a daily stop for my on blog travels. This is also a good opportunity to thank Bonnie for her support of Forgotten Friday books reviews with such wonderfully researched reviews.
I had never given too much thought to putting a collection of stories together until Brian Lindenmuth, publisher of the newly created SNUBNOSE PRESS, contacted me about it. Before ebooks, it was unlikely a press would be interested in publishing a collection of stories that had mostly appeared online. And also a collection from a writer who had not published a novel. I did not feel particularly sad about this, but once the opportunity arose, I was pretty excited and grateful that Brian was interested. Zines come and go, so many of my stories only exist as a memory now, but this would allow them to perhaps have a permanent home online. It was fun choosing the stories and hopefully they are representative without them being too similar.
“The Tortoise and the Tortoise” is one of my favorites. I have rarely written about my family (although my husband’s shows up fairly regularly) because my family was so ordinary. But a few years ago, my father was facing a peculiar situation in the assisted living facility where he lived. As one of the few men ambulatory and with his wits still somewhat intact, he had been cock of the walk at the place for a year or so. Women clambered to sit next to him and he led their Mardi Gras parade. He was catered to for the first time in his life (he was one of nineteen children). My father, at 95, was still good looking and in fact, looked a decade younger.
And then, it all changed. The room next door became vacant and before he knew it, he had a new neighbor.
His new neighbor inspired even more attention. He was a priest who’d suffered a stroke leaving him mute and somewhat helpless. Suddenly the nurses and aides were at his beck and call. He had only to lift his hand in the dining room and someone rushed over. A constant stream of visitors turned up and my Dad could hear their jabber through the wall.
My Dad could never understand any of this. Especially not as his dementia grew worse. He couldn’t understand that the man raised his hand in the dining room because he couldn’t speak, not because he thought he was the Pope. That’s what Dad always said, “He thinks he’s the pope.” It also bothered him that so many women flocked to his room.
“They’re nuns who worked with him,” I told Dad repeatedly.
“Then why don’t they dress like nuns,” he would say.
“Because nuns don’t wear habits anymore,” I would tell him but he wasn’t having any of it. He had lost his role as the cock of the walk—and only the man’s eventual death restored it.
“Something’s going on in there,” he stubbornly insisted.
Of course, writing this story for Pulp Pusher, I needed a more dramatic ending. So in the story “Dad” took matters into his own hands. Literally.
Thanks for asking me here, Bonnie and thanks to those who bought the book or read my stories online. I do love writing them.
The collection is getting rave reviews, too:
"Patricia Abbott proves that there are many shades of noir as she expertly layers her stories with melancholy, loss and the frailness of the human psyche" – Dave Zeltserman
"Patti Abbott is a master when it comes to short stories." - Anne Frasier
"In this collection of short contemporary noir fiction, Patti Abbott distinguishes herself as an extraordinary storyteller of the dark recesses of the human heart. Abbott’s characters hit hard, fight dirty, and seek a brand of hardscrabble justice that will leave you both wincing and wishing for more." – Sophie Littlefield
"There are few writers who have been more instrumental in my development as a short story writer as Patti Abbott. Her dark, explosive, and yet intensely humane stories leave me breathless and Monkey Justice is nothing less than brilliant." - Keith Rawson
I'm getting ready to download a copy, and you can too.