Bob Cox writes "The number of entries in this yearâ€™s River Citiesâ€™ Reader short-fiction contest jumped to over 120, up more than 25 percent from last year. There was one significant rule change â€“ the word limit was cut from 250 to 200 â€“ but that didnâ€™t seem to affect the quality of entries. Writers from the Quad Cities and beyond gave us interesting, provocative, and dense narratives, and winnowing the list down to the finalists was difficult. The subjects ranged from religion to relationships to murder, with just about everything in between.
We present 15 of the best entries here, five winners and 10 other finalists. While theyâ€™re disparate in tone, content, and style, most share a few traits: Theyâ€™re full of idiosyncratic detail, the authors have breathed life into the characters, and they have a ring of authenticity." See the