The Artie Crimes by Jan Christensen

The Artie Crimes Anthology by Jan Christensen
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (64 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

When your profession is thievery, you’re bound to find trouble. Artie Applegate just wants to have simple heists with no complications, but the women in his life repeatedly keep that from happening. More often than not, Artie ends up trading his burglary skills for mystery-solving talents instead.

Collected here, for the first time, are four short stories previously released by Untreed Reads containing Artie’s many exploits as he attempts to pull off burglaries while solving a crime or two in the process. This collection also contains a brand-new Artie short story, “Artie and the Big-Footed Woman.”

Artie and the Long-Legged Woman

It’s been ten years since Artie had last seen his oldest friend, Henry – and the unforgettable, gorgeous legs of Henry’s wife. When Artie learns Henry might finally have bitten off more than he can chew, Artie tries to help.

I enjoyed this short story. Gritty and written in a very noir-detective style I was pleased that I could pick it up without reading any other of the Artie stories and not only understand what was going on, but also find myself drawn to the hard-boiled detective Artie. A great, quick read.

Artie and the Brown-Eyed Woman

While in the middle of a job, Artie witnesses a brown-eyed woman being kidnapped off the street. He gives chase, but can’t save her in time. Despite his best intentions, he finds himself drawn to helping rescue her. But is the beautiful, brown-eyed woman all she appears to be?

This is another good short story. I enjoyed the twist in the plot (didn’t see it coming!) and found the story fun and satisfying with an interesting plot and fun, complicated characters.

Artie and the Red-Headed Woman

While riding the bus home after a job, Artie bumps into an old childhood friend, Gina. The pretty red-haired woman looks incredibly sad and so for old times’ sake Artie decides to help her.

I really liked this short story – again there was a twist at the end which took me by surprise. The author has a good style of story-telling that I really enjoy, lean and crisp and a little noir-ish. In a very few words characters are made to come alive and the plot is quite gripping despite the short word count.

Artie and the Green-Eyed Woman

While leaving a job, Artie runs into a woman who convinces him to pick the lock on a nearby building. Even though he’s eager to get away – the woman drags him into a new mess, and Artie will need all his luck and wits to get out of this trouble.

I found this to be a great short story, with a very good lesson for Artie. I also enjoyed meeting Artie’s mother for the first time.

Artie and the Big-Footed Woman

While on the bus going home after a heist, Artie has some rotten luck when the zipper on his bag breaks and a big-footed woman nearby sees the jewels from his score. What will the mysterious woman want in exchange for her silence?

I enjoyed this story. I wasn’t at all surprised by the plot twist, but I still greatly enjoyed watching Artie deal with the tricky problem Liz presented. A great read.

Readers who enjoy straight mysteries with a hard-boiled, noir-like feeling should enjoy these short stories. I enjoyed them all and would happily read longer-length stories about Artie’s adventures and crimes. While there is a long-standing relationship between Artie and Josie there is no romance in any of these short stories – they are hard-boiled, old-fashioned, straight mystery/suspense style stories that I feel should appeal to a wide range of readers.

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