Michael Bracken

Anthony, Edgar, and Shamus nominee




21st Century Noir

Vol. 6

Call for Submissions


The Mickey Finn series isn’t watered-down mysteries for dilettantes—these annual anthologies are crime-fiction cocktails that knock readers into literary stupors.


This series—released each December beginning in 2020—continues with Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir, Vol. 6, which will pick up where the first five Mickey Finns left off, pushing hard against the boundaries of crime fiction. Contributors are encouraged to push their work into places short crime fiction doesn’t often go, into a world where the mean streets seem gentrified by comparison and happy endings are the exception rather than the rule.


All, or a significant portion, of each story must be set in the 21st Century. (That’s 2001 to the present day.) The ideal submission is approximately 5,000 words—less than 3,000 is likely too short, more than 6,000 guarantees a rejection. Originals only. No reprints.


Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir, Vol. 6 is scheduled for release December 2025.


Submissions: Use standard manuscript format (See the Modern Manuscript Format at https://www.shunn.net/format/story/). Include name, address, telephone number, and email address on the manuscript. Save as a Word document (.doc preferred) and send as an attachment to Submissions@CrimeFictionWriter.com. In the subject line, write: Mickey Finn submission.


Submission Window: Submissions open February 1–February 29, 2024. No early submissions; no late submissions. Though rejections may occur at any point during the process, do not expect acceptance decisions until late April 2024.


Payment: A pro-rata share of royalties.


Publisher: Down & Out Books





Submission Guidelines


In the tradition of The Best American Mystery and Suspense and The Best Mystery Stories of the Year, The Best Private Eye Stories of the Year will honor—what else—the best private eye short stories published in 2024.


For the purposes of this project, we use the Private Eye Writers of America’s definition of private eye: “a private citizen (not a member of the military, federal agency, or civic or state police force) who is paid to investigate crimes. A Private Investigator can be a traditional private eye, a TV or newspaper reporter, an insurance investigator, an employee of an investigative service or agency (think Pinkertons), or similar character.”


To be considered for inclusion, a story must have first been published in English during calendar year 2024. Translations previously published in another language, regardless of when originally published, will be considered if the English-language version was first published in 2024.


Stories must be complete in and of themselves and not an excerpt from a longer work.


Editors are encouraged to submit on behalf of their writers. Writers are encouraged to submit their own work. Readers are encouraged to suggest stories they enjoyed. It is far better for the anthology editors to receive multiple copies of a story than to receive no copies. What we don’t see we can’t select.


Submissions: Send a PDF of the published story (including the copyright page) or a URL if the story appeared online to BestPI@CrimeFictionWriter.com. In the subject line, write: Best PI submission.


In the cover letter, include the author’s name, the title of the story, the publication, the publisher, and the publication’s editor. Example: Michael Bracken, “Death in Camelot,” Groovy Gumshoes: Private Eyes in the Psychedelic Sixties (Down & Out Books), edited by Michael Bracken. Also include contact information for the writer.


If unable to provide a PDF, write to the series editor at the above email address to request a mailing address.


Deadline: December 31, 2024. This is a hard deadline. Absolutely no stories received after this date will be considered.


Payment: $100. No royalties. Paid via PayPal (preferred) or check.


Publication date: Fall 2025.


About the series editor: Michael Bracken https://www.CrimeFictionWriter.com


About the guest editor: Matt Coyle https://mattcoylebooks.com/


About the publisher: Level Short, an imprint of Level Best Books https://www.levelbestbooks.us/






Also, keep an eye on the Black Cat Mystery Magazine website (https://wildsidepress.com/submissions/) for information on when the magazine will be open for submissions.