When the Levee Breaks

When the Levee BreaksPhoto license

c. 4800 words

Brent Blackmore had become obsessed with serial killers. His work as a private detective gave him long hours of solitude while he filmed insurance fraudsters and cheating husbands. Technology made it easy to watch from anonymity. He would set up a remote camera or two and hide out in his van or a nearby hotel. Most of the time, the cameras recorded nothing worth looking at. He had become a master of the alt-tab. Back and forth he’d go between the cameras and the internet.

He clicked the link Serial Killer Caught at Body Pit. Alt-tab. Hookers. No johns. Alt-tab. The story was about a man in his thirties. Not old enough. Alt-tab. The camera looked down from the second floor window at a john picking up a date. Not the right john. He had a picture of his client’s husband taped at the side of his laptop. Alt-tab. Back to the crime news.


Brent had become interested in killers when he was eight years old. His violent alcoholic father had finally gone full circle and killed himself. The police called it an accident. He was drunk driving at almost twice the speed limit and went head on into an overpass pylon. It was a highway he used every day and he wasn’t wearing his seat belt.

Continue reading

The Pakol

The PakolPhoto license

c. 2900 words

When Ortiz came back from Afghanistan, he was wearing this weird little red hat. It looked like the cover my aunt put on her toaster. He called it a pakol. He wouldn’t tell us the story behind it. The other guys made fun of the hat to get him to open up. No go. He was proud of that hat and we didn’t need to know why.

Ortiz had been my friend since school days. We drank our first beers together. We got laid for the first time with Mama Rainbow, an old broad who was always after teenage boys. We did our first coke together and quit together a week later. It was a bad week. We fucked up in a lot of ways and came out of it without getting arrested or killed. Ortiz went on to join the police force. I bought a vineyard.

We remained friends, drinking together every weekend until Ortiz got transferred out of the police. I hadn’t seen him in years and didn’t ask about the hat. I respected his privacy and knew he’d tell me about it someday.

It began while we were up in the hills hunting rabbits. He began with the Afghanistan story, moved backwards into his time working in the death squad, and finally got to why he left the police force. I could tell it to you backward just like I heard it, but it makes more sense in order.

Continue reading

Free Novella: Toe-Cutter

Toe-Cutter cover

If you like my thriller short stories, you’ll love my free novella, Toe-Cutter. It’s a 76 page story about a man who grows up in violence and fights to be the good guy even as he sinks deeper into crime.

There’s a link to download Toe-Cutter in epub or mobi format on my Ivan’s Books page.

If you enjoy the story, consider leaving a comment on this blog post. There’s a link back to here from the book page.

Article by Ivan Izo.

A Goodbye Kiss

A Goodbye KissPhoto license

c. 2300 words

The following short story is about a character in my novel, Homicidal Tendencies. The short story and novel are not dependent on each other. You don’t need to read one to understand the other.

“All they wanted was a little protection money. A big guy came out of the back and threw them out the door.” He accelerated to catch the yellow light.

“What do you want me to do about it, Jimmy?” asked his passenger as he twisted to look out the back window. “I’m not a fighter.”

“We’re not going to do anything about the hired muscle, Lou. It’s the owners we need to deal with. They’ve called the cops so many times that the gang doesn’t have any enforcers on the street. They’re all hiding out. That’s the restaurant up ahead.”

“Thai, huh? How much we getting paid?”

“Two thousand each.” He pulled into the restaurant parking lot.

“We attacking now? You got a gun for me?”

They got out of the car. “We’re just going to eat. Have a look at the place. We’ll come back tonight and burn it down.”

Continue reading

Reviews of Ethan Black’s “Irresistible” and 4 Other Novels

Book Reviews 1

Short novel reviews are a new kind of post I’m trying out. If you enjoy short stories, you enjoy books even more. I’ve read thousands of books and still find myself discovering new authors. The review posts will be my way of sharing new finds as well as old favorites.

These are unsolicited reviews and I receive nothing for writing them. The opinions are entirely my own. I will do my best to avoid spoilers. I’ve sorted the reviews from least known author to best known.

Ethan Black’s “Irresistible”

Paperback, 363 pages.

This thriller followed both a detective and a serial killer. Each were developed into interesting personalities. The story had a bit of the mystery genre in that the detective put together clues an attentive reader might have also picked up. The detective is rich, acts in odd ways, and has good insights into the workings of the criminal mind. The killer is as crazy as a bag of turtles, but able to hide it from others until it’s too late. By the end of the novel we get the killer’s whole story from inciting incident to current logic.

Verdict: I will look for more from Ethan Black.

Stephen J. Cannell’s “Cold Hit”

Paperback, 370 pages.

Continue reading

Will Work for Action

Will Work for ActionPhoto license

c. 4500 words

The short story that follows is about a character in my novel, Homicidal Tendencies. The short story and novel are in no way dependent on each other.

Buddy had wanted to be a policeman since as far back as he could remember. He watched police shows as a boy. He read detective novels and thrillers in his teens. In high school, he never passed up a chance to fight.

Then he learned what a police officer’s career was really like. He read the biographies of celebrated officers. The more he learned, the more the job sounded like long years of boredom with the occasional exciting day or two thrown in. He wanted action.

After high school, he joined the military. He saw action overseas. He saw lots of terrible things and did lots of terrible things. When he was home, he trained for action. When he was away, he saw action. Then, after years of taking pleasure in facing the challenge of pain, he saw too much action.

Continue reading

Homicidal Tendencies Novel


Homicidal Tendencies cover

If you’ve been enjoying my short stories, especially the thrillers, you might find my new book interesting. Homicidal Tendencies is a 318 page stand-alone thriller about a group of gamers who are sinking deeper into trouble with Richmond’s dark criminal elements no matter what they try to do to get out.

Will the gamers learn to stand up for themselves before someone knocks them down for good?

If this sounds interesting, visit Ivan’s Books page. It is currently available in both epub and Kindle mobi formats.

Article by Ivan Izo.