#ShortStoryMonth Day Ten — “Patience, Colorado,” by Rob Byrnes


Have Patience

You’ve all heard me extoll the virtues of Rob Byrnes before. He wrote the book I consider my start—if it hadn’t been for The Night We Met I don’t think I’d have become a published author—and his romance, When the Stars Come Out, was amazeballs good. Also? You need the caper stylings of the Grant and Chase series. Need.

That said, while he rarely delves into short fiction (and we’re all the poorer for that), when he does we end up with pieces like “Patience Colorado” from Men of the Mean Streets, and holy crap, is this a brilliantly dark little mystery/murder/noir piece.

We have a man passing through Patience, Colorado who is definitely not coming from a happy place (nor all that sure are we he’s heading for somewhere better), but he stops in the town and meets a young fellow working at a Bowling Alley who is potentially in a lot of trouble and garners the affection of this less-than-trustworthy traveler.

And things get a little dark—and twisty—from there. Also? Prize for best murder method of the anthology. Now, full disclosure, I’m in the anthology as well, but today it’s all about having “Patience.” The tone is pitch-perfect, the setting is grimy enough to leave a feeling on your skin, and the ultimate end to the tale? Oh, it’s chef-kiss perfection noir.

Other thriller and/or mystery short fiction pieces I’ve enjoyed? “Lucky Thirteen” by Anne Laughlin, where karma gets a vengeful resolution (from Women of the Mean Streets); and “Press Enter to Execute,” by Tobias S. Buckell (from Fireside Magazine) which blended a dark mix of assassin-for-hire and crowdsourcing in a way I didn’t see coming (and really enjoyed, especially when it all hits the fan).

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