Station to Station"Station to Station" by Ray Banks, Hardluck Stories, Fall, 2004
Noir, great suspense, and a twist (that's an unexpected reversal of expectations, not a woman). Nope, no women in this one other than the odd passerby, but that doesn't hurt the story at all. What we have here is a bored bureaucrat in a dead end job seeking excitement. And boy does he get it.
Mr. Banks does a bang-up job with this one. It reads well in spite of the impenetrable (at least to us on the other side of the Pond) British slang. I thought I was at least moderately able to suss out the meanings of most British slang, but there were some words I didn't have a clue about. But don't let that bother you. It makes the atmosphere of the story so real you can feel the fog. I've found that the best way to handle the slang is just romp right through it. Don't stop to try to figure it out. Mr. Banks is skillful enough that you can tell from context whether the word in question was meant to be naughty or nice, and really, that's all you need to know to enjoy the story.
The suspense and the main character's motivation build nicely throughout especially toward the end. You'll find yourself zipping through that last page. And the ending! I don't know what a cringe combined with a delighted grin looks like but my wife does. She's still watching me out of the corner of her eye.
Read the story.