Short Stories

Melisende Dulac Stories

Christmas Spirit

When a young mother is accused of drowning her child on Christmas Eve, a surprise discovery during the body transport forces apprentice mortician Melisende Dulac to confront her own ghosts of Christmas past—and help bring the perpetrator to justice. To be published by Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, date not yet set.

Hey Nineteen

During one of her first solo body removal jobs as an apprentice mortician, Melisende Dulac discovers an old man’s sad end may not have been all that natural. The story is inspired by Steely Dan’s song of the same name. It is followed by the novel, Crossroad. From Down and Out Books, October 28, 2019.

Skin Kadash Stories

In addition to the four novels in the series, the Portland homicide detective and irascible idealist with the unsettling birthmark on his neck has appeared in six short stories. Skin’s appearances and other milestones can be seen in the Kadash Chronology.

Heat Death

In 1971, days before shipping out to Vietnam, a young Skin Kadash joins his best friend for a “so long to the world” blow-out at a cabin in the mountains, unaware they’re pawns in a murder plot. Originally published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, July/August 2015 issue.

The Missus

A brotherhood of cops, a boy accused of murder, and the detective who broke ranks to dig out the truth, no matter the cost. Free download to anyone who signs up for my newsletter.

Coffee, Black

Skin investigates vandalism at a Portland coffee shop and stumbles into more than he bargained for—saucy hipsters, coffee snots, petty crooks, and a conspiracy gone off the rails. Portlandia meets Dashiell Hammett. Originally published in Portland Noir, edited by Kevin Sampsell.

Sunlight Nocturne

On Halloween, as cops pursue a gang of violent home invaders, Skin and a neighbor build a bat house, unaware the chase is heading right for them. Originally published in Deadly Treats, edited by Anne Frasier. Read it at Kings River Life.

The Last Ship

Skin travels to the windswept Oregon Coast to recover from a gunshot wound and finds himself embroiled in land grab turned deadly. Originally published in West Coast Crime Wave, edited by Brian Thornton.

Daisy and the Desperado

With a discovery of a disembodied foot in an old lady’s back yard, Skin is dragged into a decades-long feud between irascible neighbors. Originally published in Murder at the Beach, edited by Dana Cameron.

Standalone Stories

Best Served Cold

A lifelong quest for revenge has unexpected consequences for a pair of friends who sacrificed everything over a girl. Available in Diaries of Misspent Youth.


Dreams of love live and die in an eddy under a bridge. Available in Puppy Love Noir.

Kept Woman

Sometimes what we see in other people is only a dark reflection of ourselves. Originally published in The Dunes Review Read it here.

On the Road to Find Out

Motion, moving, he was always moving. An environmental autobiography. Available in Puppy Love Noir. Read it here.

The Practical Christmas

When Mom takes up with a fixer-upper, two kids find out what life with an honest-to-goodness outlaw is really all about: the loot. Read it here.

The Princess of Felony Flats

A mysterious dwarf makes a risky play for the statuesque consort of a drug kingpin in a hardboiled retelling of a classic fairy tale. Nominated for the 2011 CWA Short Story Dagger. Learn more here.

Privacy Fence

In a darkly comic clash of neighbors over the height of a fence, the solution for one seems to be kidnapping…and murder. Read it here.

Slice of Pie

A cynical and overprotective son tries to save his mother from her own good nature, with violent results. Originally published in Killer Year, edited by Lee Child.

Soul of the Sea

During a hallucinatory trip to the beach a young man loses track of who he is. Available in Diaries of Misspent Youth.

A Tall House

Desperate to see his sick mother who is quarantined upstairs in her room, a boy rebels against the overbearing housekeeper who has been keeping them apart. In the process, he discovers the grim secret behind his mother’s illness. Winner of the Spinetingler Cozy Noir Award. Available in the Protectors anthology.

The Thunderhead and the Beast

He opens the door to what he thinks is every boy’s dream. It turns out to be a nightmare. Available in Puppy Love Noir.

Yo, Karl

A boy’s dark reputation, not all of it fairly earned, shapes his fate. Available in Diaries of Misspent Youth.

Story News and Posts

Hey Nineteen

Book Cover Art: A Beast Without A Name: Crime Fiction Inspired By the Music of Steely Dan, edited by Brian ThorntonDuring one of her first solo body removal jobs as an apprentice mortician, Melisende Dulac discovers an old man’s sad end may not have been all that natural.

“Hey Nineteen” marks the first appearance of Melisende Dulac, and precedes the events of Crossroad by about eight months.

The story appears in the anthology A Beast Without A Name: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Music of Steely Dan, (Down and Out Books, October 28, 2019).

Edited by Brian Thornton, A Beast Without A Name features stories by Steve Brewer, W.H. Cameron, Reed Farrel Coleman, Libby Cudmore, Aaron Erickson, Naomi Hirahara, Matthew Quinn Martin, Richie Narvaez, Kat Richardson, Peter Spiegelman, Jim Thomsen, and Jim Winter.

New edition of Killer Year

9781250067326_p0_v1_s192x300Nine years ago, as I was getting ready for the release of Lost Dog, I had the amazing privilege of joining a group of other writers who would debut in 2007. Together, we were the Killer Year. We had t-shirts, group events, a blog — and an anthology of short stories edited by Lee Child.

I’m thrilled to share the news that a brand new edition of Killer Year has just been released. The anthology includes stories from each of the Killer Year authors, plus contributions from Ken Bruen, Allison Brennan, Duane Swierczynski, MJ Rose and Laura Lippman. About my own contribution, The Chicago Tribune said, “Bill Cameron’s ‘Slice of Pie’ is an irony-filled gem.”

So hie thee to your local bookstore, or look for Killer Year online:
Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Indiebound


The Killer Year Authors

Heat Death in the Wild

Heat DeathAt long last, Skin Kadash’s origin story “Heat Death” has been sighted in the wild. In this instance, the “wild” is defined as “my mail box,” wherein today I found both my subscription copy and author copies of the July/August 2015 issue of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. “Heat Death” can be found on page 134.

The events of “Heat Death” take place when Skin was eighteen years old. He was a long way from becoming a cop. Still, the foundation for the kind of cop he would be was laid in the mountains of British Columbia, Labor Day Weekend, 1971.

Also, there’s a moose.

Daisy and the Desperado

Murder at the Beach, the Boucheron Anthology 2014Skin Kadash is thrust into the middle of a decades-long feud between irascible neighbors.

“Daisy and the Desperado” is part of the Bouchercon 2014 anthology, Murder at the Beach.

This collection is edited by Dana Cameron and features stories by Patricia Abbott, Al Abramson, Roger Angle, Craig Faustus Buck, Bill Cameron, Judith Cutler, Ray Daniel, Jeffery Deaver, Phillip DePoy, Sharon Fiffer, Delaney Green, Eldon Hughes, Tanis Mallow, Edward Marston, Krista Nave, Gigi Pandian.

Get Your Copy

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All proceeds from this anthology support the Long Beach Public Library Foundation.

Privacy Fence

It’s not every day you encounter the phrase “bulldozer rampage.” But if there’s one thing the internet is good for, it’s providing news about people losing their shit in increasingly ridiculous ways. Seems yesterday a fellow bulldozed his way through three houses, all over a dispute about fence lines. The good news is no one was hurt, despite a woman being at home in one of the houses the fellow went after.

People. Oy.

The news reminded me of a short tale I wrote nearly twenty years ago about a dispute over a fence. I only wish I’d thought of a bulldozer rampage myself. I share the story below nonetheless.
read more…

The Missus

The Missus coverA brotherhood of cops, a boy accused of murder, and the detective who broke ranks to sort it all out.

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“The Missus” takes place shortly after the events of Chasing Smoke, when Skin returns to work as a homicide detective after his eventful medical leave. He expects to spend a quiet time reviewing cold cases and getting back on his feet. Instead, his new lieutenant—and former partner—hands him a hot capital case with explosive implications. The story also introduces Joey Getchie, the main character of Property of the State, book one of The Legend of Joey.

Note: This story, told from the point of view of my longtime series detective Skin Kadash, references events from Property of the State—the first in my young adult mystery series featuring Joey Getchie. Though the events in “The Missus” are of singular significance to Joey, they occur five years before Property of the State, and Skin’s view of them is very different from the fragments Joey remembers. That said, this story could be seen as containing a minor spoiler or two for Property of the State, so if you’re concerned about such things, you might consider reading the book first.

The Princess of Felony Flats

“The Princess of Felony Flats” is the story of a mysterious dwarf who makes a risky play for the statuesque consort of a drug kingpin in a hardboiled retelling of a classic fairy tale. Newly-released in a standalone edition, this 2011 Dagger Award nominee originally appeared in First Thrills.

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PROTECTORS: Stories to Benefit PROTECT is Now Available

I proud to be part of author and editor Thomas Pluck’s anthology Protectors: Stories to Benefit PROTECT.

From the anthology description:

41 writers. One cause. We’ve rallied a platoon of crime, western, thriller, fantasy, noir, horror and transgressive authors to support PROTECT‘s important work: lobbying for legislation that protects children from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.

Learn more about Protectors and order your copy for Kindle, Nook, and Kobos here.

Diaries of Misspent Youth

Three stories of youthful indiscretions… In “Yo, Karl,” a young man’s dark reputation controls his fate. In “The Soul of the Sea” a boy walks a beach full of wonder and despair. In “Best Served Cold,” a grim choice in the heat of the moment has lifelong consequences.

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Yo, Karl

He had crazy eyes

I’m not one to speak ill of the dead, but Karl Hansen was capital-T Trouble. He was my friend, sure, and he was also the one guy my mom didn’t want me hanging around. Not to say she was wrong. I knew he was bad news. I smoked my first cigarette with Karl, drank my first beer, looked at my first dirty magazine. Karl was as likely as not to show up at school with cherry bombs or spray paint, when he bothered to show up at all. He grew pot behind his Uncle Mert’s compost heap, sugared in the principal’s gas tank, and got arrested when he was twelve years old for burning down his neighbor’s barn.

The Soul of the Sea

Dwight is gone—he’s dead

I don’t know. I guess it’s music. I can’t hear too well. It sounds like a jazz piano, you know? Down the beach. Miami beach is wild at night. The hotels and condos are all lit up, but the light doesn’t get down to the beach much. Just enough to see where the water starts. I don’t know.

For a taste of Diaries of Misspent Youth, read this story for free.

Best Served Cold

Sometimes, you get exactly what you ask for.

He told me to call him Black. I assumed the name was an alias, worn for effect, like his dark Wayfarers, van Dyke beard, and black homburg. We met in a nondescript hotel room in Cleveland. Out of the way.

Revisions are when you get to get to move the darts onto the bullseye while no one is looking.

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