Barry Ergang

Biography

Former Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine (www.fmam.biz) and First Senior Editor of Mysterical-E (www.mystericale.com/), Barry Ergang's fiction, poetry and non-fiction have appeared in numerous publications, print and electronic. He is a winner of a Derringer Award from the Short Mystery Fiction Society for the best flash fiction story of 2006.

Where to find Barry Ergang online


Books

Criminalities: Three Short Crime Stories and an Essay
Price: Free! Words: 5,070. Language: English. Published: June 13, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
(5.00)
Three short crime stories, including a Derringer Award-winning flash fiction tale, plus an essay about locked-room and other "impossible crime" fictions.
The Vole Eater: A Parody of Mike Resnick's "The Soul Eater"
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 11,500. Language: American English. Published: June 3, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
In space, no one can hear you burp. Sci-fi for foodies? You be the judge. The novelette's protagonist supplies exotic foods to restaurants throughout the galaxy. When he discovers a creature thought to be mythical, a different kind of hunger besets him and it's no longer business as usual in this parody/pastiche of Mike Resnick's "The Soul Eater."
The Boy Who Ate Rainbows
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 3,880. Language: English. Published: May 16, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Social Issues / Friendship, Fiction » Fantasy » General
(5.00)
When Christina and her friends investigate the mysterious disappearance of a rainbow, they meet an unfriendly boy with a strange power in this children's fantasy story.
Funeral for a Flightless Phoenix
Price: $1.50 USD. Words: 2,010. Language: English. Published: June 10, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
Creations have a way of flouting their creators. Witness the writer trying to immortalize his work in this dystopian comedy.
No Candles for Antiochus
Price: $1.50 USD. Words: 4,820. Language: English. Published: September 26, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
A hardboiled Hanukkah story set in a dystopian future. Its last line is rather memorable.
Stuffed Shirt
Price: $1.50 USD. Words: 3,300. Language: English. Published: September 15, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
(5.00)
Revenge is a dish best served steaming. Eric Dennison doesn't suffer fools or offenses lightly. When Theron Claymore, the new man in the workplace, pushes matters too far, Eric resorts to drastic measures to stop him, with surprises for Claymore--and the reader.
Pun-ishing Tales: The Stuff That Groans Are Made On
Price: $1.50 USD. Words: 10,140. Language: English. Published: September 15, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(4.00)
No, it's not about BDSM, S&M, or anything kinky. It's a book of groaners, humorous short stories (some *very* short) that are sometimes peppered with puns throughout but which *always* end with them. If you enjoy word play, or just enjoy something to groan about, you'll have fun with this collection. "All in the Holster" ends with what is the author's "mother of all groaners" to date.
The Play of Light and Shadow & Writing
Price: $1.50 USD. Words: 16,090. Language: English. Published: September 15, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
(5.00)
The crime was impossible, but it happened. The gallery was locked and under constant observation, but the valuable painting was stolen, and later the prime suspect was murdered. A private detective and a professor turned bartender team up to solve who did it and how. Can you spot and interpret the clues and solve it first? Plus an article about how the novelette came to be written.
Slow and Quiet, Drift Away
Price: Free! Words: 1,040. Language: English. Published: September 4, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Urban
(5.00)
A flash fiction story about the mugging and its aftermath, with the reader as victim.
A Flash of Fear: Six Very Short Stories
Price: Free! Words: 1,480. Language: English. Published: August 22, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
(4.00)
Six flash fiction stories of suspense about people in fear-inspiring situations by a Derringer Award-winning writer.

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Smashwords book reviews by Barry Ergang

  • Short Stories of Earl Staggs on July 01, 2011

    In the interests of full disclosure, let me explain at the outset that Earl Staggs and I have been friends for a number of years, going back to when I joined the staff of the then-named *Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine* as an editorial reviewer and Earl was Managing Editor. No more than a year later, maybe less, some changes occurred with the staff, and Earl asked if I'd like to be one of three fiction editors. I accepted the position and, when a year or two after that Earl stepped down as M.E. to serve as Editorial Consultant for the renamed *Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine*, he offered me his former position and I accepted. Prior to the publication of *Short Stories of Earl Staggs*, I had read some of Earl's short fiction as well as his excellent--and recommended--novel, *Memory of a Murder*. I correctly assumed, therefore, that reading this collection of fifteen stories, each of which is prefaced by an author's note about its origins, would be a satisfying experience. The book opens with the Derringer Award-winning "All the Fine Actors," in which a hitman assassinates a local sheriff. Both he and his employer are aware that people too often aren't what they seem, and both know the collection of his fee won't be an easy task. "A Rainy Day Robbery" is a lighter-weight tale about the fictional Watango County, Texas Sheriff Mollie Goodall who, while trying to track down a thief, has to contend with a broken fingernail, every mention of which made me wince. A tough former Baltimore cop, now living and working as a bail bondsman and sometime bounty hunter, returns to his hometown to pursue an escaped criminal and confront some people and issues from his past in "Baltimore Bounty." "Battered" concerns Detective Sam Hollis's rabid determination to nail a longtime abuser who has finally killed his victim. Hollis has his own demons to deal with while trying to salvage his marriage. After his sister's funeral, a visiting small-town cop arranges a meeting with her estranged husband, a wastrel pretty boy, in "Brother-in-Law." Ostensibly to discuss which of them as the woman's survivors gets what, the meeting has a much darker purpose. The weakest story in the collection for me was "Caught On Christmas Eve," the tale of a twelve-year-old wannabe thief and the man who witnesses what he's up to at a department store's jewelry counter. Originally written for a Christmas anthology, it's predictable and sentimental--but redeemed by not being too soppy. A contract killer who prides himself for being meticulous and thorough gets the shock of his life when a woman he killed walks into the restaurant in which he regularly dines. Before the evening is over, he's in for dyspepsia-inducing surprises in "Dead Woman Walking." "Fig Newtons and Heavy Bags" is the lightweight tale of two spinster sisters who aren't quite what they seem. Another Mollie Goodall story, "Robbery On Christmas Eve," concerns the theft of church funds from a locked office. How the thief got in and out, as well as who the thief is, are the puzzles Mollie must solve. In "Room Six," a small-town sheriff sets a simple trap to determine which of three wealthy, spoiled brothers murdered a nineteen-year-old woman. "Silky's Getaway" is a brief comic tale about a professional burglar's encounter with a most unlikely obstacle. Not without moral qualms, a cop exceeds standard procedural boundaries to dispense the justice the courts failed to in "Taking Richie Gold Down." On her daughter's wedding day, Amanda Barnes is kidnapped by a man who has held a grudge against her for twenty years, a man who stirs up memories of her harrowing past in the tense and exciting "That Night in Galveston." "The Chopsticks Clue" resulted, as the author explains in his prefatory note, from an editorial challenge. Homicide Lieutenant Sue Townes encounters her former partner Millie Walker, now a meter maid, while investigating a stabbing death at a Chinese restaurant. More interesting than the crime itself is the animosity Sue has toward Millie because of an incident in their past. Sheriff Mollie Goodall makes another appearance in the comical "The Naked Man On the Roof" when she has to talk the titular character down from the roof of a deserted icehouse (the fall from which wouldn't kill him), learn why he's despondent, and then solve a crime. Chief of Police Harry Winfield learns from a pair of Dallas cops, to his surprise and disheartenment, that Pam Wilson is wanted for the murder of a prominent attorney in "The Waitress." She swears she didn't kill him but knows who does--but won't reveal the murderer's name lest she be forced to reveal things about herself she can't afford to reveal. Harry must determine where the truth lies. *Short Stories of Earl Staggs* is a nicely varied collection of light and dark, humorous and serious, soft-boiled and hardboiled crime stories. The author writes in a smooth, accessible prose style, deftly delineates characters, and has an excellent sense of pace. To my friend and former colleague, the venerable Earl of Staggs, I say, "Well done, *amigo*. Give us more." To you who are reading this review, I say, "If you enjoy good short crime and mystery fiction, get yourself a copy of this collection, which is available in electronic and paperback formats, because the Earl Staggs byline always guarantees a pleasurable reading experience."
  • Drop Dead Zone on Oct. 14, 2011

    A good, swift, high-altitude story that effectively evokes the world of the skydiver and neatly blends it with a mystery plot.
  • Teed Off on Oct. 22, 2011

    A nicely paced story featuring some intriguing characters, not the least of whom is the particularly odious villain. The P.I. heroine is appealingly tough-minded.
  • Kill Leader on Nov. 23, 2011

    Another fast-paced Val Lyon adventure in which Lyon bodyguards a temperamental volleyball star who has been threatened by, apparently, an organization (or member thereof) that opposes sweatshops that use child labor. Is the would-be assailant the player's teammate or her biggest opponent? Or is he or she someone completely unknown? Val Lyon has her work cut out for her. As usual, Mark Troy delivers a story that never lags, told in a clear, crisp prose style.
  • Horns on Jan. 11, 2012

    Another case for Val Lyon, this one slightly offbeat, "Horns" is a typical Mark Troy story: fast-paced and compelling and populated by colorful characters. This one has a particularly wild finish.
  • Jake's Monthly- Locked-Room Mystery Anthology on July 03, 2016

    I dislike writing negative reviews, but I've long been a fan of locked-room and "impossible" crime stories and found this collection very disappointing. "Homer's Quilt" is the only story that's fairly-clued, but not at all subtly. "Rabid Revenge" is a complete mess: in dire need of good editing for construction, development, grammar and punctuation, it reads like a rough draft rather than a polished tale. "Silas Tully's Last Case" is not a locked-room mystery. The reader is told Tully once read and figured out a fictional one, but the case he's called in on does not have a locked-room component. Although decently written, if the prose is at times overwrought as if the author is trying to dazzle the reader with his phrase-turning skills, the story could be shortened without detriment to plot or characterization. See my free Smashwords e-book CRIMINALITIES: THREE SHORT CRIME STORIES AND AN ESSAY. The essay, "Impossible Pleasures," deals with locked-room and other impossible crime situations.
  • Inspector Zhang Gets His Wish (A Free Short Story) on July 03, 2016

    Not a bad story, but nowhere near the level of impossible crime masters like John Dickson Carr, whom Inspector Zhang mentions. Check out the likes of Carr (a.k.a. Carter Dickson) and Edward D. Hoch, among others.
  • Rescue on July 21, 2016

    As I did in my review of SHORT STORIES OF EARL STAGGS, I have to mention up front that Earl and I are old friends and editorial colleagues. That said, and based on some of the short stories of his I read before I ever got to know him, I thought he was an excellent storyteller. "Rescue" underscores my contention. A novelette-length adventure, it stars Tallmadge "Tall" Chambers, who was introduced in the superb thriller JUSTIFIED ACTION, and who has become the head of a secret nameless agency that puts terrorist groups out of business: “When a terrorist group was determined to have definite plans to strike and harm innocent people, the agency stepped in and stopped them by whatever actions were necessary. That included insurgent groups on American soil, homegrown and foreign, who thought the American way needed to be changed by violent methods.” After preventing a busload of terrorists from killing attendees of a street festival in Abu Dhabi, Chambers and his crew, one member of which is on loan from the Air Force and utterly inexperienced in this sort of operation, are assigned by the President to effect a rescue of hostages from a location "in a rural area north of Dubai" so exposed on all sides that mounting a sneak attack is impossible. To say any more would be to spoil a rapid-fire tale which deals with the kinds of regrettable real-life episodes we hear about in the news all too frequently at the time of this writing. It’s not likely that action and adventure fans will be disappointed by “Rescue”—with the possible exception of those offended by a few instances of the kind of street language which isn’t out of place in a story of this kind. (Relax! No f-bombs in a carload.)