Other Stories in this issue

The Brew

by Connie Johnson Hambley

About the Author: CONNIE JOHNSON HAMBLEY writes high-concept thrillers featuring remarkable women entangled in modern-day crimes. Connie is the President and Featured Speaker of Sisters in Crime New England and member of Mystery Writers of America.


My sobriety teetered the moment she walked into my bar. Gravity shifted in that weird way when you know fate wrenched away the upper hand. The past held a theft washed away with booze. The future held a trip-wire to an urge to drink. Or kill.

Her smile—all sparkle and heat-ray warmth—kicked me in the gut the same way it did in high school. Her first three steps inside oozed with confidence, then she hesitated. Four guys lifted their heads from their beers, and one was on his feet asking if she needed something before his friends could stop him.

Another second would have glued him to his seat. Jason Nicks—the Jason Nicks—walked in behind her and kissed her head in the F-you way like dogs pee on hydrants. He marked his territory as soon as he walked into mine.

That’s right. The Jason Nicks. RumTide’s lead singer and the Grammy-winning, chart-topping S.O.B. that taught me the taste of hate. We don’t get that kind of star-power in Ipswich, Massachusetts and seeing him changed the late-night crowd from red-faced laughter to elbow-nudging whispers.

Causing a ripple must be something typical for him because he stood in the doorway scanning the crowd, oblivious. When he saw me, he air-guitared two beats then shook his hands over his head.

“HOLL-ah to my BRO-thah!”

Story Comments

Dec 16 - Sarah E Glenn

I enjoyed the irony of a recovering alcoholic running a microbrewery and bar. Very good descriptions of the setting, including the brewery area. Few magazine mysteries give me such a vivid mental picture.

Dec 16 - Robert Andres

Great story.

Dec 16 - Earl Staggs

Excellent writing. My complimemts to the author.

Dec 16 - Connie Johnson Hambley

Thank you Sarah, Robert, and Earl for your compliments and support. Much appreciated!

Dec 16 - Ruth McCarty

Great story, Connie!

Dec 16 - Susan Rickard

Tricky! Great writing. An enjoyable read.

Dec 16 - Mary Madden

Nice story and good surprise ending..

Dec 16 - Connie Johnson Hambley

Thank you Ruth, Susan, and Mary! I'm glad you enjoyed my story! It's always fun to find clever ways to kill someone.

Dec 16 - Marie Benham

Superb short expertly established and may easily be expanded into a novel, if so inclined... an intriguing start to reel in your book-length readers, me included!

Dec 17 - Susan Oleksiw

Good story, Connie. I didn't see the ending coming.

Dec 17 - Connie Johnson Hambley

Thank you Marie and Susan! I'm always happy when I can surprise experience crime readers!

Dec 17 - George Garnet

No more beer for me! Great job, Connie, great twist.

Dec 17 - Tina Jude

A gripping and so real to the core story. You had me at the edge of my seat. Great work!

Dec 20 - Jude Roy


Dec 22 - Connie Johnson Hambley

Thank you George, Tina and Jude! I'm so glad you enjoyed the story! The setting is inspired by a brew pub local to me. Town folk look at me funny when I go there now!

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