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Killer, Come Back To Me: The Crime Stories of Ray Bradbury

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Celebrating Ray Bradbury's centenary, this collection commemorates his finest crime stories – tales as strange and wonderful as his signature fantasy. Time travellers…dark carnivals…living automata…and detectives? Honouring the 100th birthday of Ray Bradbury, renowned author of Fahrenheit 451, this new, definitive collection of the master's less well-known crime fiction fea Celebrating Ray Bradbury's centenary, this collection commemorates his finest crime stories – tales as strange and wonderful as his signature fantasy. Time travellers…dark carnivals…living automata…and detectives? Honouring the 100th birthday of Ray Bradbury, renowned author of Fahrenheit 451, this new, definitive collection of the master's less well-known crime fiction features classic stories and rare gems, a number of which became episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Ray Bradbury Theater, including the tale Bradbury called ‘one of the best stories in any field that I have ever written’. Is it murder to destroy a robot if it looks and speaks and thinks and feels like a human being? Can a ventriloquist be incriminated by the testimony of his own dummy? Can a time traveller prevent his younger self from killing the woman they both loved? And can the survivor of a pair of Siamese twins investigate his own brother's murder? No other writer has ever rivalled the imagination and narrative gifts of Ray Bradbury, and the 20 unforgettable stories in this collection demonstrate this singular writer's extraordinary range, influence and emotional power.


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Celebrating Ray Bradbury's centenary, this collection commemorates his finest crime stories – tales as strange and wonderful as his signature fantasy. Time travellers…dark carnivals…living automata…and detectives? Honouring the 100th birthday of Ray Bradbury, renowned author of Fahrenheit 451, this new, definitive collection of the master's less well-known crime fiction fea Celebrating Ray Bradbury's centenary, this collection commemorates his finest crime stories – tales as strange and wonderful as his signature fantasy. Time travellers…dark carnivals…living automata…and detectives? Honouring the 100th birthday of Ray Bradbury, renowned author of Fahrenheit 451, this new, definitive collection of the master's less well-known crime fiction features classic stories and rare gems, a number of which became episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Ray Bradbury Theater, including the tale Bradbury called ‘one of the best stories in any field that I have ever written’. Is it murder to destroy a robot if it looks and speaks and thinks and feels like a human being? Can a ventriloquist be incriminated by the testimony of his own dummy? Can a time traveller prevent his younger self from killing the woman they both loved? And can the survivor of a pair of Siamese twins investigate his own brother's murder? No other writer has ever rivalled the imagination and narrative gifts of Ray Bradbury, and the 20 unforgettable stories in this collection demonstrate this singular writer's extraordinary range, influence and emotional power.

30 review for Killer, Come Back To Me: The Crime Stories of Ray Bradbury

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Ray Bradbury is a master storyteller. That is, he is one of those people who is such a great storyteller that he could write in any genre or on any topic and every sentence would be a juicy morsel. Best known as a science fiction writer and, indeed, best known as a giant in the science fiction world, Bradbury also penned numerous crime fiction tales, particularly in his early formative writing years. Collected here for your reading enjoyment, Hard Case Crime has packaged in one reasonably-sized Ray Bradbury is a master storyteller. That is, he is one of those people who is such a great storyteller that he could write in any genre or on any topic and every sentence would be a juicy morsel. Best known as a science fiction writer and, indeed, best known as a giant in the science fiction world, Bradbury also penned numerous crime fiction tales, particularly in his early formative writing years. Collected here for your reading enjoyment, Hard Case Crime has packaged in one reasonably-sized volume a whole plethora of Bradbury's crime fiction. Don't make the mistake of thinking that these are like the collections of long-lost, never published writings by other writers (most of which were properly rejected by publishers before those authors became famous). These were published in magazines. And they are all good, if not great. Not a clunker in the bunch. To say that this is a collection of Bradbury's crime fiction seemingly separates it from his hard science fiction. But, you can't do that. These stories are precipitously balanced on the edge between science fiction and crime fiction and most, if not all in some manner, contain serious elements of science fiction, fantasy, or supernatural. Indeed, the collection begins with a top-notch ode to time travel and it kind of breaks some rules about never meeting yourself in time and creating a paradox. Other stories concern women screaming from under vacant lots, marionettes, bodies packed in trunks in the attic, hitmen, and mannequins. The other thing to note, particularly if you are familiar with Bradbury's writing craft, is that you can hear his poetic prose in many of these stories. They are chockfull of his wondrous phrases. And they are told from differing points of view. Some by young men. Some by children struggling to be heard in a world where adults so easily dismiss things as children's storytelling. Not only is this a volume that can be devoured very quickly, but it is one worth returning to more than once. Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this terrific work. KILLER, COME BACK TO ME 1. A Touch Of Petulance 2. The Screaming Woman 3. The Trunk Lady 4. “I’m Not So Dumb” 5. Killer, Come Back to Me! 6. Dead Men Rise Up Never 7. Where Everything 8. And So Died Riabouchinska 9. Yesterday I Lived! 10. The Town Where No One Got Off 11. The Whole Town’s Sleeping 12. At Midnight, In the Month of June 13. The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl 14. The Small Assassin 15. Marionettes, Inc. 16. Punishment Without Crime 17. Some Live Like Lazarus 18. The Utterly Perfect Murder

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bam cooks the books ;-)

    Celebrating what would have been Ray Bradbury's 100th birthday with this publication of a collection of twenty of his crime short stories. I was introduced to Ray Bradbury's scifi short stories many years ago when I read The Illustrated Man and The Martian Chronicles--and I've never forgotten my enjoyment of them. Here is my first taste of his crime stories: some are more successful than others, some are dated, but all are entertaining. There is an introduction Bradbury wrote many years ago that Celebrating what would have been Ray Bradbury's 100th birthday with this publication of a collection of twenty of his crime short stories. I was introduced to Ray Bradbury's scifi short stories many years ago when I read The Illustrated Man and The Martian Chronicles--and I've never forgotten my enjoyment of them. Here is my first taste of his crime stories: some are more successful than others, some are dated, but all are entertaining. There is an introduction Bradbury wrote many years ago that is included at the end of this collection in which he talks about his desire to improve as a writer. He had set himself a goal to write one story a week for the rest of his life, thinking that through quantity would come quality. 1) A Touch of Petulance: A bit of time travel in this one as a man from the future tries to warn his younger self about a crime he will commit in years to come. 2) The Screaming Woman: a 10-year-old girl hears a woman screaming deep underground in an empty field but frustratingly no one will believe her. Very Poe-like! 3) The Trunk Lady: A young boy finds the body of a beautiful young woman in a trunk in the attic during his parents' high-society soiree but he's made to believe he's been fooled by a mannequin. But has he? 4) "I'm Not So Dumb!": A man, the townspeople think of as a feeble-minded giant, tries to outthink the sheriff and solve a murder case on his own. 5) Killer, Come Back to Me!: A would-be bank robber meets a mentor. 6) Dead Men Rise Up Never: A kidnapping goes awry. 7) Where Everything Ends: A detective investigates the murder of his partner who was looking into a blackmailing scheme. 8) Corpse Carnival: When a conjoined twin is murdered, the surviving brother is determined to bring the killer to justice. 9) And So Died Riabouchinska: A beautifully-handcarved marionette seems to have a life of its own. A very well-executed story! 10) Yesterday I Lived!: Three years after the death of a beautiful young Hollywood actress, her murder remains unsolved. 11) The Town Where No One Got Off: A salesmen on a cross-country train trip decides on a whim to get off at a station in the middle of nowhere. Is he there to meet his fate? 12) The Whole Town's Sleeping: In an Illinois town, a man they call 'The Lonely One' has strangled four women. Is it safe for three women friends to go out late at night for a movie? 13) At Midnight, In the Month of June: The same creepy story as above but told from a different perspective. 14) The Smiling People: A man wants peace and quiet in his own house... 15) The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl: After a man commits a murder, he fears his fingerprints are everywhere! Another story in the style of Poe. 16) The Small Assassin: Almost too close to postpartum depression for comfort when a new mother hates her baby and claims he wants to kill her but Bradbury saves this story with a big twist. 17) Marionettes, Inc.: A hen-pecked husband learns about a company that makes 'stringless marionettes,' perfect replicas of real humans. Hmmm... 18) Punishment Without Crime: Another story of 'unstringed automatons'--what could go wrong this time? 19) Some Live Like Lazarus: A woman waits 70 years for a man to be free to marry her. 20) The Utterly Perfect Murder: A man plots a murder in revenge for slights that happened 36 years ago when he was twelve!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    “A heart is an erratic thing. Like mercury. It scurries all over a person’s insides.” Did I just read a collection of 20 short stories and... love them all? This is unreal. I’ve barely touched a Bradbury novel before and I’m totally kicking myself. This is the most perfect mixture of crime, science fiction & horror! We begin with a time traveling paradox and then weave through stories of women buried in vacant lots, carnivals of mysterious murder, a woman stored away inside of a trunk in an attic “A heart is an erratic thing. Like mercury. It scurries all over a person’s insides.” Did I just read a collection of 20 short stories and... love them all? This is unreal. I’ve barely touched a Bradbury novel before and I’m totally kicking myself. This is the most perfect mixture of crime, science fiction & horror! We begin with a time traveling paradox and then weave through stories of women buried in vacant lots, carnivals of mysterious murder, a woman stored away inside of a trunk in an attic, offbeat maniacal stories of life’s losses & regrets, marionettes, new born babies named Lucifer, and classic twisted noir romances! Killer, Come Back To Me is the finest collection of murder, poetic mayhem & spooks with a great sadness to it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Truman32

    Short stories are like quick sordid alcohol-fueled trysts with strangers, usually taking place in public parks or alleyways in the wee hours when most god-fearing people are safely tucked away in bed. Ultimately, they leave you unsatisfied, hungry for more and filled with a level of self-disgust normally experienced only by cigarette manufacturers, the guy who flips the electric chair on-switch, and members of popular soft rock band Bread. I much prefer the long-term commitment of a hefty novel. Short stories are like quick sordid alcohol-fueled trysts with strangers, usually taking place in public parks or alleyways in the wee hours when most god-fearing people are safely tucked away in bed. Ultimately, they leave you unsatisfied, hungry for more and filled with a level of self-disgust normally experienced only by cigarette manufacturers, the guy who flips the electric chair on-switch, and members of popular soft rock band Bread. I much prefer the long-term commitment of a hefty novel. Over those hundreds of pages, you can spend a little time, get to know each other on an intimate level, share experiences, ultimately having your heart probed like a Floridian abducted by curious alien scientists from the Gamma Quadrant. But Killer Come Back to Me: The crime Stories of Ray Bradbury has me reevaluating this entire tawdry degenerate business of short stories altogether. These babies are great! And so creepy they would make celebrated horror novelist Stephen King wet his pants and suck away on his little blue binky until his heartrate slows down. These crime stories, many of them published in detective magazines from the 1940’s hold up remarkably well. 20 stories in all, they cover such topics as gangsters, murder, ventriloquist’s dummies that can’t keep secrets, killer babies, and hidden bodies. Bradbury, who would have turned 100 this year shows off his writing chops. His skill is not so much in the creepiness or the crime aspect of his stories, but in the humanity and realism of the players inhabiting his work. If this is not enough of a seller for you to pick up this book, then know this, Killer Come Back to Me: The crime Stories of Ray Bradbury is constructed with one of those cool ribbon page markers inside. Not only will reading this book give you many hours of reading pleasure it is also financially astute; saving you the hundreds of dollars budgeted for fancy bookmarks while still being able to mark your place without dog-earing your book like a psycho.

  5. 5 out of 5

    The Face of Your Father

    'Killer, Come Back to Me' is a recently released collection of crime short stories by prolific author Ray Bradbury to celebrate what would have been his 100th birthday. ⁣ ⁣ An author finding themselves within the crime genre may feel shackled by the limitations it stereotypically has to offer. Bradbury embraces these expectations of straightforwardness and uses it to his advantage; adding a whimsical flare and darkly fantastical twists to the majority of these stories. The blend of such elements e 'Killer, Come Back to Me' is a recently released collection of crime short stories by prolific author Ray Bradbury to celebrate what would have been his 100th birthday. ⁣ ⁣ An author finding themselves within the crime genre may feel shackled by the limitations it stereotypically has to offer. Bradbury embraces these expectations of straightforwardness and uses it to his advantage; adding a whimsical flare and darkly fantastical twists to the majority of these stories. The blend of such elements enhance each other's role within the collection because no matter the direction Bradbury travels, whether it is the supernatural or science-fiction or even gothic writings that mirror the style of Poe, the stories are connected by a single thread of humanity. With a deep examination of human behavior, Bradbury writes with a nostalgic romanticism of a forgotten time while incorporating an unnerving touch of the macabre.⁣ ⁣ With the majority of these stories being sold to pulp fiction magazines in the 1940s, where authors would often get paid a penny for every word, the stories within 'Killer, Come Back to Me' contain the passionate desperation of a hungry young author. Bradbury hits a creative peak around the second half of the collection, seeming determined for the next story to be superior than the previous. ⁣ ⁣ Always aware of time period, Bradbury writes the past, then present, with the same prophetic vision as he does with his futuristic tales of scifi. Every story appears to take the aging process into consideration as 'Killer, Come Back to Me' rarely feels dated. Even in 2020, Ray Bradbury is still producing fiction of better quality than most. ⁣

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cal Brunsdon

    Lauded as one of the all-time American visionaries of genre fiction, (and rightly so), what can be said about the work of Ray Bradbury that hasn’t been stated a thousandfold? My answer: the man could write a whodunnit just as tightly and densely as any rocket ship trip to Mars. In this illustrated centenary collection, 20 of Bradbury’s short stories from a range of publications explore every facet of what we could generously consider “crime fiction”, but with that biting, fantastical and supreme Lauded as one of the all-time American visionaries of genre fiction, (and rightly so), what can be said about the work of Ray Bradbury that hasn’t been stated a thousandfold? My answer: the man could write a whodunnit just as tightly and densely as any rocket ship trip to Mars. In this illustrated centenary collection, 20 of Bradbury’s short stories from a range of publications explore every facet of what we could generously consider “crime fiction”, but with that biting, fantastical and supremely economical style of storytelling he was famous for. Reading these, I couldn’t believe how much he was able to weave into so brief of a product. At 10-20 pages each, the stories are taut, clean, and brisk as all hell, yet embued with a sort of imagery that bites: as if the teeth unhinge from the page and clamp the hell down. It’s incredible. To fill crime fiction in the back of some rag magazine with this kind of magic, particularly in the 40s, goes to show what the man was capable of. There’s no tricks here, no gimmicks; just good storytelling, beautiful language and that just-out-of-reach nostalgia that bleeds from everything he wrote. It’s that sense of déjà vu, that voyeuristic familiarly, that makes him so damn accessible. Bradbury states in the afterward, “I floundered, I thrashed, sometimes I lost, sometimes I won. But I was trying.” Humble, no doubt, but fascinating that one oft my favourite books of 2020 was considered by the author to be, at one point or another, an experiment at survival.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Hard Case Crime celebrates the centennial anniversary of Ray Bradbury's birth with KILLER, COME BACK TO ME, an outstanding collection of 20 of his best mystery and crime stories. Although Bradbury is remembered for his prolific science fiction and fantasy writings, he periodically branched out into other genres. The majority of these stories were published in the 1940s and '50s in magazines like "Dime Mystery," "Weird Tales" and "Detective Tales." "The good stories you write later are an umbrell Hard Case Crime celebrates the centennial anniversary of Ray Bradbury's birth with KILLER, COME BACK TO ME, an outstanding collection of 20 of his best mystery and crime stories. Although Bradbury is remembered for his prolific science fiction and fantasy writings, he periodically branched out into other genres. The majority of these stories were published in the 1940s and '50s in magazines like "Dime Mystery," "Weird Tales" and "Detective Tales." "The good stories you write later are an umbrella over the bad stuff you discover you left behind you in the years," Bradbury writes modestly. But there is no bad stuff in this collection--each story offers vintage delights. Fans will covet "Where Everything Ends," which is the source text for his 1985 detective novel Death Is a Lonely Business. Another rarity is "Hammett? Chandler? Not to Worry," a warm tribute to his friend and mentor Leigh Brackett. Many stories have a supernatural element to them. In the time-travel tale "A Touch of Petulance," a happy honeymooner meets a future version of himself who warns he will murder his wife. "The Screaming Woman" is a terrific nail-biter about a little girl who can't convince people she hears a woman buried beneath the earth. "The Small Assassin" features a murderous baby; Bradbury believed it "to be one of the best stories in any field that I have written." KILLER, COME BACK TO ME will expand Bradbury's fan base with this sensational introduction to his vintage mystery and crime tales, which still sparkle and entertain. KILLER, COME BACK TO ME is a captivating collection of Ray Bradbury's mystery and crime short stories and is a sure bet to gain new fans among mystery lovers.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    These short stories are pure Bradbury--excellent descriptive writing, taut dialogue and interesting and quirky characters with some supernatural aspects thrown in. Great little murder mysteries that don't take long to read. Folks who like mysteries and folks who like Bradbury will both enjoy this book!!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller

    Ray Bradbury would have turned 100 years old on August 22, 2020. Hard Case Crime has commemorated his centennial by gathering some of his earliest short fiction into a beautifully bound volume, KILLER, COME BACK TO ME, which consists of 20 stories and 11 illustrations. It is a must-have addition to any home library where reading is valued. Bradbury is primarily known for his science fiction and fantasy stories. The titles are synonymous with his name: DANDELION WINE, FAHRENHEIT 451, THE MARTIAN C Ray Bradbury would have turned 100 years old on August 22, 2020. Hard Case Crime has commemorated his centennial by gathering some of his earliest short fiction into a beautifully bound volume, KILLER, COME BACK TO ME, which consists of 20 stories and 11 illustrations. It is a must-have addition to any home library where reading is valued. Bradbury is primarily known for his science fiction and fantasy stories. The titles are synonymous with his name: DANDELION WINE, FAHRENHEIT 451, THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES, SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES and THE ILLUSTRATED MAN. What many may not realize is that Bradbury cut his writing teeth on crime fiction, which occasionally blurred into horror and sci-fi. The majority of this breathtaking collection is weighted toward pulp magazines, where Bradbury and many other genre fiction writers labored mightily during the 1940s at a rate of a (very) few pennies per word. They include the treasured Dime Mystery, Detective Tales and, interestingly enough, Weird Tales. There are also some more “recent” stories from such disparate sources as Playboy, McCall’s, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and the Dark Forces anthology. I was delighted to find two of my favorite stories here. One is “The Small Assassin,” which Bradbury called “one of the best stories in any field that I have ever written." Anyone contemplating parenthood from either side of the telescope should read it. What appears to be a secondary manifestation of postpartum depression may well be a mother’s intuition. It also contains my all-time favorite closing paragraph of anything that I have ever read. The other is “The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl,” in which an unfortunate act of passion carried out in anger brings guilt and obsessive compulsion together in all of the worst ways. I have read this story many times over the years, and even while revisiting it, I could still hear Bradbury’s typewriter click-clacking as he wrote and almost smell the keys smoking. There are many other feasts here. “Corpse Carnival” is a murder mystery that inadvertently gives up its whodunit early but has a number of setup twists and presages one of Bradbury’s most popular books by a couple of decades. Some stories are also paired over time. “The Whole Town’s Sleeping” is about a patient serial killer who is operating in a small town. It is told from the point of view of a woman who will not let herself be ruled by fear. A few years later, Bradbury --- at the urging of an editor --- wrote a sequel, “At Midnight, in the Month of June,” which picks up where its predecessor left off. This time, though, it is from the killer’s perspective. Bradbury did something similar with “Marionettes, Inc.” and “Punishment Without Crime,” which both revolve around a company that manufactures robots in the likeness of the customer or anyone else, for whatever purpose. The latter examines a legal and societal issue with which we are only beginning to come to grips. As has been demonstrated repeatedly in the past, it is the world that needs to catch up to Bradbury. Two outstanding stories bookend the volume. The opening tale, “A Touch of Petulance” --- which, having been published 40 years ago, is the “newest” piece here --- is a bit of a time travel story that illustrates one reason why relationships go wrong, even with forewarning. “The Utterly Perfect Murder,” which closes the collection, is a tale of revenge that is both fulfilled and unrequited. Anyone older than 40 who has ever felt as if they had a long-standing score to settle will be able to relate to it. Time doesn’t heal all wounds. In some cases, it inflicts mortal ones. KILLER, COME BACK TO ME features some of Bradbury’s oldest writing and some of his best. I can’t give you a better recommendation than that for putting this collection on your must-read list right now. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub

  10. 5 out of 5

    Donald

    “Hard to think that a single drop of ink could color a whole pitcher of clear fresh water. But color it could and color it did.” Lots of good short stories in this volume! One story is the murder of a conjoined twin! Two others are the “same” tale, one done from the perspective of the victim, the other from the killer! There are also two stories with creepy ‘marionettes’! And, the classic, “The Small Assassin”! The book ends with "The Utterly Perfect Murder" - a story that really pulled at my hea “Hard to think that a single drop of ink could color a whole pitcher of clear fresh water. But color it could and color it did.” Lots of good short stories in this volume! One story is the murder of a conjoined twin! Two others are the “same” tale, one done from the perspective of the victim, the other from the killer! There are also two stories with creepy ‘marionettes’! And, the classic, “The Small Assassin”! The book ends with "The Utterly Perfect Murder" - a story that really pulled at my heart strings. A good collection of spooky crime stories that would be a good kick off to the Fall season. Some of Bradbury's best! "O ancient Lazarus Come ye forth. "

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Jones

    If you’ve ever wondered about how a master storyteller honed his craft, then you will definitely want to check out this collection. I don’t immediately think of Ray Bradbury as a crime writer, but this collection of his early works from various 1940s pulps proves that his versatility knew no bounds even as he was finding his voice. There really wasn’t a bad story in the collection, even if some are stronger than others. There is also never not a good time to read or re-read A SMALL ASSASSIN or T If you’ve ever wondered about how a master storyteller honed his craft, then you will definitely want to check out this collection. I don’t immediately think of Ray Bradbury as a crime writer, but this collection of his early works from various 1940s pulps proves that his versatility knew no bounds even as he was finding his voice. There really wasn’t a bad story in the collection, even if some are stronger than others. There is also never not a good time to read or re-read A SMALL ASSASSIN or THE WHOLE TOWN’S SLEEPING.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    Ray Bradbury remains one of my all-time favorite writers and all of the stories contained herein are excellent (unusual for an anthology). But what puts this book over the top is the way this collection provides a fascinating overview of the progression of his writing.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Noah

    Good Stuff in a cool format.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Wendopolis

    To finish at a later date

  15. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I enjoyed every.single.story.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Thomson

  17. 5 out of 5

    Karl Kendall

  18. 4 out of 5

    Anita

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  20. 5 out of 5

    Manik Yadav

  21. 5 out of 5

    Josh

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ann Grebner

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Doherty

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rich Pazol

  26. 4 out of 5

    TreyMichael

  27. 5 out of 5

    Leanna

  28. 4 out of 5

    David Rice

  29. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Whitelam

  30. 4 out of 5

    R Wayne Wedgeworth

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