In April 2015, B.K. Stevens debuted the blog series “The First Two Pages,” hosting craft essays by short story writers and novelists analyzing the openings of their own work. The series continued until just after her death in August 2017, and the full archive of those essays can be found at Bonnie’s website. In November 2017, the blog series relocated to my website, and the archive of this second stage of the series can be found here.
This week continues a series featuring contributors to Jewish Noir II: Tales of Crime and Other Dark Deeds. Edited by Kenneth Wishnia and Chantelle Aimée Osman, the anthology explores the “overall themes of hope and fear during this time of rising anti-Semitism in the US and abroad” as well as “such issues as the Jewish support of the civil rights movement, the enduring legacy of negative stereotypes, the history of prejudice, assimilation, and questions of regional, national, and ethnic identity.” Jeff Markowitz kicked off things last week with an essay focused on character’s names (or lack thereof) in his story “The Black and White Cookie,” and Jen Conley continues to look at names and more with the essay on her story “Hunter” below. Additional contributors to the anthology include Gabriela Alemán, Doug Allyn, Jill D. Block, Craig Faustus Buck, D.M. Evans, Robin Hemley, Ellen Kirschman, Rita Lakin, Joy Mahabir, Zoe Quinton, Eileen Rendahl, Rabbi Ilene Schneider, Terry Shames, A.J. Sidransky, Lizzie Skurnick, E.J. Wagner, Kenneth Wishnia, Steven Wishnia, Xu Xi 許素細, Elizabeth Zelvin, and Yigal Zur.
Jen Conley is well-known and hugely respected in the world of mystery short stories, thanks in large part to her stellar collection Cannibals as well as her stories in the anthologies Trouble in the Heartland and Grand Central Noir and in a variety of magazines and journals, including Pulp Modern, Thuglit, Needle: A Magazine of Noir, Crime Factory, Beat to a Pulp, Out of the Gutter. She has also been an editor for Shotgun Honey, and she’s the author of the YA novel Seven Ways to Get Rid of Harry, winner of the Anthony Award in 2020. You can find out more about Jen and her work at her website.
In addition to Jeff’s essay and Jen’s, we’ll also be hosting Rabbi Ilene Schneider and Stephen Wishnia over the next two weeks—stays tuned for more!
Please use the arrows and controls at the bottom of the embedded PDF to navigate through the essay. You can also download the essay to read off-line.Conley-First-Two-Pages