Deep in the south of Melbourne, where the seediest denizens of the criminal hatchery crack open their shells and come out to play, there is a renaissance publisher of fine crime goods that you are going to need to familiarise yourself with.
Meet Crime Factory Publications, you’re going to get along just fine [LINK]
Y’see, CF are the premiere Aussie collating figureheads of local noir, pulp, bravado, and unintelligible slurry. They publish a digital magazine called CRIME FACTORY and it features prose shorts, non-fic fabulousness, and reviews and news all about the crime genre. If you are interested, then you are certain to find this interesting. And if it’s cutting down trees that tickles your noir bone, then you can get your mitts on their short fiction collections and selections available through their site.
But what makes CF a noir enterprise? Well, I have no doubt the puppet overlords currently running the show, Cameron Ashley strapped to the front of their war rig, are going to die sudden, soon, and broke for their efforts. Running an indie publishing house isn’t something you do for the happy ending, y’dig?
But along the way, the highlights will be worth the shallow grave.
But before we send the flag to half mast and recount their final times of trapped anguish and terror, let’s analyse the summits upon which they stake a flag for Melbournian crime appreciation and distribution.
The semi-regular magazine is what lured me in. There’s something about a well designed online magazine that will always grab my attention. It fits neatly in your hand when you read it on the tablet, and you can collect a whole day’s worth. That fills me with joy. And this magazine is worth a day of catching up on because the stories are fantastic, the reviews and op/ed pieces are insightful, and the design fu on display is cracking. The covers especially are always a delight.
They also put out KUNG FU FACTORY and PINK FACTORY [the underground all smut bonanza you don’t want your neighbours to see] and every time one of their publications lands, it’s cause for the shades to go down low and your brain to go into study mode.
I’ve been lucky enough to contribute short fiction to them as well as a piece on BODY HEAT for the Pink issue and just connecting with the team and seeing the words up in pixel print has been enough to get me motivated and excited.
Then CF started dabbling in anthologies and it was LEE that really grabbed me by the collar. A selection of prose shorts about Lee Marvin not constrained by actual canon or continuity. Such a rad idea I am genuinely surprised it hadn’t been done before. The moment I caught wind of the announcement I emailed Mr Ashley to congratulate him on such a fine idea and he volleyed back that they had an opening left if I’d be interested in writing about Lee Marvin.
Like you even have to ask, right?
Now the book is broken up into different times of his life where a fictional lens can make him a living crime icon and so I instantly shoot back to CF EiC that I’ll come aboard but they gotta let me write about Old Man Lee Marvin. As I’m typing that message, he sends me the two options available. Yeah, you know how this plays out.
So I put together ‘1986: AND THE GUNSLINGER FOLLOWED’ wherein Lee Marvin races his muscle car against death. I can only hope the story is anywhere near as rad as it feels in my heart. It starts off as such:
“The son of a bitch in the black Camaro had been following Lee for weeks.”
To be contained in that collection, behind that gorgeous green cover, was a dream come true. But that’s not why I love Crime Factory.
No, it’s their ethic, their dedication, their commitment to holding quality high. CF set about doing things the only way they should be done, goddamn well and so the only outcome is you holed up on the thirty-third floor of a hotel, a bottle of whiskey in your hand, and looking all the way down to the pavement through that sheer pane of ceiling-to-floor glass. Looking down and thinking. Then getting back to the damn Underwood because you’ve got more in you.
If you’ve got more in you and your Underwood, then you need Crime Factory in your life. Enjoy. Or don’t, it’s all pretty bleak. [LINK]