Crime Montage was released in March 2012 ($14.95, Top Publications Ltd., Dallas, TX). This crime collection is the second book in the short story series and includes: cozy, humorous, chick-lit, young-adult fantasy, paranormal, and a historical novella. Murder and more: from a Newport, Rhode Island, fishing vessel to a German cruise ship in 1939, crimes are committed. From the San Juan Islands to New York City, murders are solved. The stories are as unique and different as human personalities and motives.
“Morin has degrees in psychology and social work, and she brings her knowledge and observations about human behavior to this diverse anthology.
“There’s something for everyone in these stories. Interested in a funny short story written as a poem? Try ‘Cold Pizza, Warm Beer.’ ‘Daughter Mine’ includes one of the most hateful characters I’ve ever met in a story. Each reader can decide if that hateful person is the mother or the daughter. ‘Fish Story’ won honorable mention in a contest at Spinetingler, the online crime magazine. A fisherman gets his comeuppance in this entertaining story. ‘Going Home’ is an historical story relating to a ship carrying Jews away from Nazi Germany. There’s quite an unusual twist in this one. My favorite story was ‘Shattered Silence.’ It’s about a deaf-mute and a horse who witness a murder.
“Morin added a special feature, one that I appreciated. Her introduction included a list of all the stories, along with comments as to the inspiration for all of them. That’s for everyone who asks, ‘Where do you get your ideas?’ I found myself flipping back as I read each story to see where Morin’s idea came from.
“Patricia L. Morin’s Crime Montage is entertaining and thought-provoking. If you’re a fan of crime short stories, some of these characters and scenarios will stick with you.”
—Lesa’s Book Critiques
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“In Crime Montage, a fascinating collection of crime short stories, and a sort of sequel to her first intriguing book of short stories, Mystery Montage, Morin continues to insert gasps, gulps and disbelief to a reader who cannot put the copy aside.
“What makes Morin’s latest book so interesting is that the reader finds it difficult to resolve any one of the short stories that contain real character studies, murder, humor, motive, fantasy— and yes, paranormal situations. She has such an amazing imagination, so thoroughly confusing because everything and everyone appear so normal, and a way of heightening one’s interest, then suddenly sparking an abrupt ending that leaves one panting for more…
“Morin’s inside and outside knowledge of the human side of life, and her derivation of the variety of personalities, defines the authenticities of her stories. And she does so with a rare talent that issues a call for more of the same. The fact that several of her short stories in the first Montage book received nominated awards merely goes to prove that the contents of Crime Montage will continue their success.
“It appears that Morin’s original collection of short stories, Mystery Montage, which has a comfortable place on the shelf of this reviewer’s bookcase, has moved aside to make room for its companion, Crime Montage.”
—Bea Smith, Worrall Community Newspapers, New Jersey
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“ When you see the word ‘crime’ in a book title you, might automatically think of actions that result in police investigations, trials, jail time. But Crime Montage doesn’t limit itself to legal drama. This book shows that crime can be so much more than that. What about moral, but not legal, crimes? Crimes committed by creatures from other worlds? Planning a crime, but not following through? Imagining a crime? Crimes that seem excusable, even by the victim? Crime Montage is made up of ten short stories and one poem that encompass all kinds of concepts of crime.
“Crime Montage includes pieces in so many different genres, moods, time periods, and settings that it seems amazing that they were all written by the same author. If I didn’t see only one author’s name on the book spine, I never would have believed it! Patricia Morin tries on so many different hats—humor, suspense, horror, paranormal—that each short story feels fresh and unexpected. Crime Montage jumps from laugh aloud funny to goose bump creepy to a satisfying puzzle to untangle. It’s hard to believe that any reader will not find at least one story that is in the style they enjoy. Morin also manages to pull off a few of my favorites: surprise endings. Don’t miss ‘Murder Most Fowl!’ With each paragraph, I changed my mind about what I simply KNEW would happen—and in the end I was totally surprised!
“With such a variety to choose from you’ll find that once you start reading, you won’t want to put down Crime Montage until page 214. And when you reach that final page, you’ll find yourself asking, ‘Did she write any other book?’ Happily, the answer is ‘Yes!'”
—San Francisco Book Review
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Here is a story from Crime Montage:
Honorable Mention winner in the “Pay the Bitch Back Contest” in Spinetingler Magazine
The day was calm. The Blue Fin, my faithful fishing vessel, rocked gently on the Atlantic Ocean forty miles out of Newport, Rhode Island, at 5:30 a.m. We were hunting for tuna that day and I had a full charter, ten seasoned fishermen going for the big ones. My first mate, Marty, had set the lines and opened the chum shoot to entice the tuna. Everyone was sitting by their poles, chatting sports and telling fish tales, and drinking coffee.
Then Jesse Steiner’s voice crackled on the marine radio. He was west of me by ten miles. “Hey, this is Jesse from The Crab. My fuel filter just went and I’m forty out from the point. Anyone have an extra? Over.”
If he had to get towed into shore, it would cost him a bundle of money and time, not to mention how irate his charter customers would be.
Not many of us liked loudmouth Jesse, who believed the world owed him a living, even though he had the biggest and best boat. He also liked to keep a watchful eye on all of us. But out in the ocean, anything could happen. We helped each other.
I had an extra fuel filter and I radioed him back. We were the only two fishing boats out on the water that morning. Charters weren’t cheap and the fishing season was fading fast.
I remember how he responded when I told him I was on my way. He said, “Hey, Don, that’s great. Thanks for the help. Appreciate it. Over.”
No problem. Got the fuel filter to him, helped him put it in, and was on my way.
One of my charter guys caught a twenty-pound tuna while he waited for me to return to The Blue Fin. Good day for him.
We filleted the tuna in the water before we got back to shore. It’s much easier that way and it saves time. At the dock, I was cleaning up the boat with Marty when a Department of Environmental Management agent came over to me. He handed me a ticket as several more agents boarded my boat.
“You’re not allowed to fillet fish in the water anymore, Mr. Taylor,” the agent said. “Today was the first day of the new law.”
I remembered reading that the law passed, but didn’t remember when it would begin. Didn’t read the paper that day either. My stomach knotted. I opened the ticket and nearly fainted. I was to set an example for the others. The fine was ten thousand dollars and they would confiscate my boat for a month.
“How did you find out that I was filleting the tuna?” I asked.
“We cannot reveal who called it in. That’s confidential.”
I was burning. Losing a month’s pay even at the end of the season, and then the fine, would almost cripple me—with the boat, house, and kids’ school payments due without the work to pay for them, the lost revenue would cost me twenty thousand dollars!
I found out, through my buddies, that Jesse was pissed, because one of my clients caught a big one in “his” waters, right next to “his” boat; the fish was bigger than anything caught that day. I knew it; in my gut I knew Jesse was behind it. There were only our two boats out that day. All Jesse had to do was tell me about the date.
I remember repeating “Goddamn Jesse” every day for thirty-one days.
After that, all the charter people snubbed Jesse. He wasn’t asked to our annual Labor Day clam shindig—we had changed it to a different location. But we were blessed with a warm September, a charter-boat-businessman’s dream. It was as if the universe wanted to thank me for my kind deed and gave me, and all the other charters, an extra month on the water.
Then it happened again. A call came from The Crab. Jesse had run into a lobster pot and its thick ropes had wrapped around his prop. He had no air tank to dive down and cut it free. Could someone bring him a tank?
Greg of The Mermaid and I were both in the area.
“I’ll take one to him. Over,” Greg offered, but he was farther away. I knew he was doing it for me, even though Jesse had reported Greg for taking a fish that was too small, although the size was still in question.
“No, I’ll go. I’ll throw him the tank and leave. We’re chumming for tuna now. Not much action today. Over.”
“Okay. Slow here, too. Over,” Greg replied.
Luckily, he was only five miles away and I only had four people on the boat, all seasoned veterans. Two had heard the tuna story and thought I should let him pay for the fix and tow. I might have, but he had a full charter, and those people’s day would be ruined.
“Thanks, Don,” Jesse had heard the conversation. “It’s been slow here, too. Over.”
I remember muttering, “Yeah, over and out.”
I pulled up next to Jesse’s boat. Jesse was set to dive, wet-suit shorts and flippers on. I handed him the tank.
“Hey. If you want to wait a few minutes, I’ll return your tank.”
“Nah, you can return it after you fill it. It’ll take you much longer than a few minutes.” I stepped off the boat before he could say anything else.
The chaos started when I stepped onto The Blue Fin. One of the men’s reels spun out of control and Marty raced to his side. By the bend in the poll and the speed of the wire being released, the fish was huge. Jesus, I thought, another big tuna right next to Jesse’s boat. I wanted the line to break. But the fisherman was an expert and he wanted his trophy, or his dinner.
The shocker came when we could see the fish near the surface, still far back. It was a Mako shark. They were unpredictable, the fastest of all sharks, generally shy, but also very aggressive. To my relief, after a struggle between man and fish, the fisherman jerked the line in his excitement and snapped it, and the shark swam free.
As I exhaled, I spotted another shark fin. What was bringing in the sharks? The chum! Did Marty close the chum shoot?
I yelled to Marty. “You close the chum shoot?”
Marty turned to face me. “Yeah. Nothing left anyway.”
I yelled over to Jesse’s first mate. “Jesse back yet?”
“No,” he answered.
“Did you close your chum shoot?”
He went white. He raced over to the shoot. He turned toward me. I knew it was empty. It had been a slow day. Hopefully, the sharks weren’t hungry.
I left Marty on the boat and boarded The Crab. Then I walked over to Jesse’s first mate, who was gazing off the side of the boat. “He thought he would miss the lobster pots when he passed the buoy.”
I glanced over the side. “He knew where they were? Are they his traps? He doesn’t have a lobster license, does he?” They were near impossible to get.
The first mate said nothing.
I eyed my watch and spotted bubbles at the same time. For an instant, I wanted him dead, eaten, torn apart limb by limb. He had caused every charter boat misery in one form or another over the years. And here he was, trapping lobsters illegally.
Profuse bubbles came closer to the surface and I could see my tank. I spotted the back of Jesse’s head and not the top. There was no blood, but something was wrong. Repetitious moans were muffled by his mask. He was writhing in pain, but there was still no blood.
We both reached down to grab his free arm. His feet were kicking and his other hand was pushing something away. We strained to pull him up out of the water, heavier because of the extra weight of the tank.
Lobsters were clinging to his one arm, his vest, his ankle, and his thigh. I wanted to laugh, but I knew how painful a lobster-claw bite could be. The sweetest revenge, for me, is the one you never planned.