Only the Good Die Young: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Billy Joel Edited by Josh Pachter

May 8, 2021 | 2021 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

The anthology kicks off with Why Judy Why written by Robert Lopresti. Judith finds herself sitting in a police interrogation room, being grilled by two detectives. She seems cooperative enough about what she’s done, but the detectives aren’t clear about one thing: motive. They keep asking, “Why, Judy, why?”, but even if she tells them, they’ll never understand.

Terrie Farley Moran follows with Piano Man a tale of aspirations for more, the realization what you have, might be all you’ll ever get, and then what the hell do you do? It all started when Arnie, the day bartender, got lucky the night before and look where it ended.

The Entertainer by Jenny Milchman introduces a talented young singer, not down on her luck, more like she’s never had any luck, except bad. What happens when you just have to sing, no matter what, but life never cuts you a break? Well, this story started with a milkshake.

James is Barb Goffman’s contribution. She tells how achieving one dream can kill all the rest—and your happiness and hopes, too. In the end, you can only rely on the ones who truly love you.

Divorce work is never easy, nor pretty. Tony knows this, but it’s about the only work he can get as a PI. It gets even worse when your past rears up and reminds you of what you wanted but knew would never be. Seeing it all again, there’s no way it can end well this time either, as Josh Pachter explains in the title song, Only the Good Die Young. But do they?

Jeff Cohen invites readers to watch Ali fight an unknown on the big screen television at the Zanzibar, one of the few places Springsteen didn’t perform. Usually, a crowd is anything over ten people but for the big fight, sixty plus crowd the room. And that’s not counting the dead guy on the floor. How can that many people be that close together and not see how he got dead?

In It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me, Richie Narvaez says musical taste is set by the time you reach thirty. That may well be, but what happens when history repeats itself, just with updated lyrics and tunes? Add in a missing baby blue Continental, and it’s a mess of a mystery to solve.

Goodnight Saigon is Rick Helms’ story of Americans in Vietnam early on, when they were still advisors teaching Vietnamese soldiers how to fight the enemy. Out in the jungle, sometimes, you’re your own worst enemy.

John Floyd offers up Innocent Man, the tale of two friends working for a woman who can’t be trusted or refused. What with Bigfoot wandering around, rumors flying, and people acting odd, it’s sometimes the smallest thing that changes your life.

A Matter of Trust by David Dean takes what looks to be a minor cyber investigation and uses it to change four lives. It all boils down to—who can you trust?

The Downeaster ‘Alexa’ by Michael Bracken spins a yarn of Joel, a bayman (fisherman) who’s finding fish aren’t as plentiful as when his father and grandfather were on the water. The family motto is, born a bayman, die a bayman—unless the sharks get you first.

In No Man’s Land by James D. F. Hannah, readers are introduced to Barry, Long Island’s Real Estate King. Six years running! But that was before the new guy came in: younger, better looking, making all the big sales, and taking all the big listings. Of course, there was one thing Barry knew the new guy didn’t, and that was a game-changer.

Reviewing short stories is different than reviewing a book. Tell too much about the story and you’ve given away the plot or the twist. It takes a talented writer to make readers care about the characters, add a sense of place, then a crime and solution in such few words. Here you have twelve of those talented writers, each sharing a tale and a tune. Dive into their stories, fire up YouTube or your favorite music channel, and rock out to Billy Joel!

To enter to win an ebook copy of Only the Good Die Young, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “young,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 15, 2021. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up next week.

You can use this link to purchase these book from Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She’s editor for Peace, Love, and Crime: Crime Stories Inspired by the Songs of the ’60s, with twenty-two cozy stories. She also edited A Murder of Crows, twenty-one stories featuring animals and crime (no animals were harmed). She also writes for magazines, newsletters, and the occasional guest blog. Both anthologies are available at the usual outlets, print or ebook.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. This certainly sounds different! Count me in!

  2. Hi Sandra,
    Thanks for your review and for taking the time to explain the difference between reviewing novels and reviewing anthologies!

  3. Thanks for the kind comments, Sandy! We’re glad you enjoyed the book!

  4. Good review, Sandy. You made me want to read each story from these talented authors. Of course, hearing Billy Joel in the back of my head doesn’t hurt either.

  5. We have a winner!


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