Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Freebie: Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives, edited by Sarah Weinman

Congratulations to Mike Hooker, Christine LaRue, and Drew Broussard, winners of last week's Friday Freebie contest: Tumbledown by Robert Boswell.

This week's book giveaway is the exciting new short-story anthology Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives, edited by Sarah Weinman.  And when I say "exciting," I mean the whole package is thrilling--from the pulpy cover art right down to the selection of female thriller writers (many of whom will be new to most readers).  As I wrote earlier here at The Quivering Pen,
Weinman knows crime fiction inside and out and has written on the subject for the Los Angeles Times and The Barnes and Noble Review (among others), so I totally trust her judgment when it comes to literature about the darker side of domesticity.  In her introduction to Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives, she talks about the early female pioneers of crime fiction: "Their books color outside the lines, blur between categories, and give readers a glimpse of the darkest impulses that pervade every part of contemporary society.  Especially those impulses that begin in the home."  Contemporary female writers particularly intrigue the editor--authors like Gillian Flynn, Tana French and Attica Locke who "take a scalpel to contemporary society and slice away until its dark essence reveals itself: the ways in which women continue to be victimized, their misfortunes downplayed by men (and women) who don't believe them, and how they eventually overcome."  For this anthology, Weinman stretches farther back to a goldener age of suspense fiction to bring us short stories by Patricia Highsmith, Shirley Jackson, Dorothy B. Hughes, Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, Margaret Millar and several others to paint a portrait of troubled domesticity in mid-century America.
Here's a small sample of what you'll find in this wicked-good collection--the opening lines to "Sugar and Spice" by Vera Caspary (whose best-known work is probably the 1943 novel Laura):
I have never known a murderer, a murder victim, nor anyone involved in a murder case.  I admit that I am a snob, but to my mind crime is sordid and inevitably associated with gangsters, frustrated choir singers in dusty suburban towns, and starving old ladies supposed to have hidden vast fortunes in the bedsprings.  I once remarked to a friend that people of our sort were not in the homicide set, and three weeks later heard that her brother-in-law had been arrested as a suspect in the shooting of his rich uncle.  It was proved, however, that this was a hunting accident and the brother-in-law exonerated.  But it gave me quite a jolt.

If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives, simply email your name and mailing address to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on Aug. 29, at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on Aug. 30.  If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you've done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.

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