Monday, January 25, 2021

A Musical Trend in Crime Fiction Anthologies

by Paula Gail Benson

Recently, I’ve noticed a number of short story anthologies organized around the songs of a particular artist, group, or time period. Here’s a list of a few that are published or pending and two story calls:

Published Anthologies:

Murder-a-Go-Go’s: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Music of the Go-Go’s
, edited by Holly West (Down and Out Books, 2019) features stories by twenty-five authors, including Lisa Alber, Susanne Calkins, Jen Conley, Lori Rader-Day, Hillary Davidson, Greg Herren, Travis Richardson, and Holly West. The forward is written by Jane Wiedlen, co-founder of the Go-Go’s. Net proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood.

The Beat of Black Wings: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Joni Mitchell
, edited by Josh Pachter (Untreed Reads, 2020) has contributions from twenty-eight authors, including “Both Sides Now,” the first literary collaboration by husband and wife Art Taylor and Tara Laskowski, both multiple award winners, and Donna Andrews, Michael Bracken, Brendan DuBois, Edith Maxwell, Alison McMahan, and Stacy Woodson.

I’ve read that Josh Pachter also is working on an anthology featuring Billy Joel’s songs.

Peace, Love, and Crime: Crime Fiction Inspired by Songs of the ‘60s
, edited by Sandra Murphy (Untreed Reads, 2020) contains twenty-three stories by well-known short story authors including Earl Staggs (to whom the book is dedicated), Terrie Farley Moran, Merrillee Robson, Claire A. Murray, Michael Bracken, Maddi Davidson, Josh Pachter, and John Floyd.

Calls for Submissions

Fahrenheit Press is putting together Gabba Gabba Hey: A Ramones Anthology. The deadline for submissions is February 28, 2021. For more information, click on this link.

Triangle Sisters in Crime (North Carolina Chapter) has a call for submissions for its new anthology Carolina Crimes: 20 Tales of Rock, Roll, and Ruin. To enter, you must be a Sisters in Crime member and resident of North Carolina or South Carolina. The deadline is April 1, 2021. For information, click on this link. 


  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Paula! Yes, Only the Good Die Young: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Billy Joel is due from Untreed Reads this spring. Available for pre-order now, though, from Down & Out Books, is The Great Filling Station Holdup: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Jimmy Buffett, with a very nice pre-order discount on the e-book and an e-book free when pre-ordering the trade paperback. The link is

  2. Great! Thank you, Josh. I knew I was missing one. Looking forward to both the Jimmy Buffet and Billy Joel anthologies. It’s terrific that you’ve combined artists from two disciplines.

  3. Great post, Paula! I just finished Peace, Love, and Crime and will watch for some of the others!

  4. Mary Lee, I'm looking forward to that one! I've been enjoying The Beat of Black Wings.

  5. Also coming this spring from Down & Out Books is a music-related anthology that Gary Phillips and I edited. Jukes & Tonks features crime fiction set in Juke Joints and Honky-Tonks.

  6. Thank you for featuring Peace, Love and Crime. So happy the anthology is dedicated to Earl.

  7. Michael, fantastic news! Terrie, I too was thrilled to see the dedication to Earl.

  8. I love this--especially the Go-Go's. Thanks for sharing!


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