A few changes for Crime Syndicate in 2016!

Check out some badass changes coming to Crime Syndicate in 2016!


Crime Syndicate Magazine Rectangular Thumbnail LogoHello there crime fiction fans, Crime Syndicate Editor-in-Chief Michael Pool here, with an update for you on some progressions and changes coming to Crime Syndicate Magazine in 2016!

As you know, we’re a brand new magazine (and a paying market) whose chief mission is to support crime fiction writers and help spread crime fiction short stories to a wider audience. We initially pulled the magazine together in a span of less than sixty days, concept to print, which was one hell of a whirlwind. I’m very happy with how the first issue came out, thanks to our Guest Editor Eric Beetner’s help, and I’m super excited for the next one.

That said, since things have slowed down after releasing Issue One (and dealing with the release of two of my own books as well at the beginning of the year), I’ve had some time to brainstorm and readjust how best to pursue our mission as a magazine. I’ve always considered short fiction magazines to be the place where emerging writers cut their teeth, and where established writers reconnect with audiences and share what they’ve been working on. And while magazines are a great way to spread and support short fiction, they’re not the only way to accomplish that goal. Which leads me to the point of this post.

Crime Syndicate was initially conceptualized as a quarterly magazine; that is, four issues per year. I’ve decided to make a tweak to that schedule, in hopes of furthering our mission to create greater paid markets for short crime fiction. The result of that tweak is you can expect to see three, instead of four, issues per year of Crime Syndicate. The advantage of this new schedule will be that our publisher (and full disclosure, my company, which is focused exclusively on publishing short fiction), Short Stack Books, will be releasing one themed anthology each year to replace that fourth issue.

This will present us with the opportunity to reach an additional level of audience for the magazine and expand our focus on publishing short fiction. Plus, we’ve got some fantastic anthology themes in mind that are gonna be fun as hell for writers and readers, and I just couldn’t sit on those any longer when we’re in a position to act on them.

The added bonus is this: This move will actually lead to a higher total volume of short crime fiction publishing. The reason for this is that we plan to make each of the three issues longer so that they contain the same amount of fiction that four issues would have, in addition to the new themed anthologies. Crime Syndicate Issue One had eight fantastic short stories in it. Expect Issue Two and all subsequent issues to have more like 10-12 stories in them.

I couldn’t be more excited for Issue Two, and I can pretty much guarantee that people are going to love the theme for our first anthology later this year as well. Bear in mind that the anthologies will mostly be filled with invited authors (some of whom will have appeared in the magazine, others maybe not), but we will also open up to submissions to fill 20% of the story slots in the anthologies.

Needless to say, 2016 is going to be a great year for short crime fiction, if we have anything to say about it.

While I’ve got you here, I also wanted to mention that we are in the process of revamping our book reviews, which is why you haven’t seen one in a few weeks. The reason for this is that I noticed the reviews felt like they were too much about what books I like, and that felt contrary to the spirit of our Guest Editor focus and goal. I want the magazine to be about the books and writing that other writers like too, and with that in mind I’ll be bringing a few trusted contemporaries on board to handle some of the book reviews, moving forward.

It’s shaping up to be a GREAT year, so stay tuned for more details. Issue Two drops in May, then Issue Three in September. Expect the first themed anthology somewhere around November 2016! As always, thanks for your support, we look forward to reading your writing when submissions open up for Issue Two in February!



Crime-On-Crime Review Series #12: Bad Citizen Corporation, by S.W. Lauden

510OND4whGLHalf a lifetime ago, back in high school, I listened to tons of punk rock. I spent my entire adolescence and most of my twenties as an avid skateboarder, and the two just always went hand in hand. At some point along that journey, I discovered writing, too, and it became perhaps my biggest passion, eventually narrowing itself down to crime fiction in particular. So imagine my excitement, my sheer disenfranchised JOY, at reading a debut novel that combines two things that I really enjoy, punk rock and crime fiction, in S.W. Lauden’s Bad Citizen Corporation.

Bad Citizen Corporation is the story of former underground punk rock star Greg Salem, now a detective on the force of a neighboring community to Bay Cities, where he grew up and made a name for himself alongside his older brother Tim and his best friend Ricky through their combined band (and title track for the book) Bad Citizen Corporation.

The book opens with Greg chasing a violent sexual predator through the streets of East L.A. and ultimately shooting him when the kid produces a gun. The problem is, that gun up and disappears afterward, leaving Greg, as well as the community, wondering if it ever existed at all. Greg is forced to surrender his badge and await judgment as a result.

But later that night, at a rare reunion show for Bad Citizen Corporation, emotions spill over in the crowd, some of whom feel betrayed that their favorite punker has turned not only cop, but killer cop. A scuffle in the crowd leads to a shooting that claims his friend Ricky’s life right there on stage, leaving Greg feeling like he has two deaths on his hands in one day.

What follows is a harrowing search for Ricky’s killer juxtaposed against the surfing-centric backdrop of everyday life in Bay Cities, a town poised to undergo major real estate development that could finally erase everything Greg has ever loved about the place.

As Greg moves to solve his friends murder he also finds himself knee-deep in said local politics, and is forced to revisit the relationships of his past in hopes of both salvaging them and also harnessing them to not only solve the crime at hand, but find peace with his own past decisions and actions. Throughout Greg is pursued by a marauding gang of thugs who are angry about the initial shooting, and may well be responsible for taking Ricky’s life as retribution. It’s a fast-paced book with a punk rock soundtrack to die for (pun intended), and it’s an emotional book about addiction, urban decay, and the lost visions of youth.

Bad Citizen Corporation is one hell of a debut from a promising author in a series that will almost certainly solicit legions of followers, just like Greg Salem’s band, Bad Citizen Corporation. What stands out is the Californian sense of place and the forever shifting line between good and bad, which is almost never black and white, and often nearly impossible to navigate. I loved it and I think you will too. Pick up a copy of Bad Citizen Corporation here, and get to know S.W. Lauden here.

If you enjoyed this or any other of our reviews, please take a moment to use the  form below and sign up for Crime Syndicate’s email list so that you can stay up to date on what’s happening with the magazine, new issues, and new books that you won’t want to miss. Oh yeah, by the way, sometimes we have free books and other sweet merch to give away too!