It Follows Until It Leads

“But if forced to play favorites, I would pick Dillon Kaiser’s “It Follows Until It Leads” as the loveliest, saddest story in the book, a Shakespearean tragedy about violence creeping through generations that left me with tears in my eyes.”
–Santa Cruz Noir review by Kat Bailey

“Concluding with a serious gutpunch of a story, Santa Cruz Noir is a worthy addition to the series, one that proves no locale is too outre for the Akashic Noir treatment.”
Santa Cruz Noir review by Chris Hayden

For completion’s sake I’m going to throw up a post here on Santa Cruz Noir, edited by Susie Bright and published by Akashic, which contains my short story “It Follows Until It Leads.” If you’ve read the story, I’d love to hear what you think, even if you don’t like it. If you’ve yet to read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts after you do.

Akashic is known for their Noir anthology series–crime fiction stories set in specific cities (including Boston, Chicago, New York, Belfast, Buenos Aires, Dublin, Haiti, to name only a few) with contributors like Dennis Lehane, Amy Bloom, Michael Stipe, and Joyce Carol Oates.

“It Follows Until It Leads,” the last story in SC Noir, takes place at the southern end of Watsonville, and follows family-man Luis as he attempts to escape his violent past as a Mexican cartel soldier while disappearing into anonymity as a migrant agricultural worker in California. However, as both Shakespeare (and now Westworld) have told us, violent delights do indeed have violent ends. Luis’s old deeds have far reaching consequences, and the burden of saving his wife and children rests on his shoulders alone.

I need to give major props to Tom Rivera, who performs the story’s audio version. Immediately upon the opening I was blown away. Tom brings the story to life in a way I never thought possible. If audio is your thing, please check out Tom’s reading, available on audible ( You won’t be disappointed. Print versions are available at Bookshop Santa Cruz, Amazon, and the Barnes and Noble website.

SC Noir has many great stories across all the county’s local flavors, but some of my personal favorites are Tommy Moore’s “Buck Low,” Jill Wolfson’s “Death and Taxes,” Maceo Montoya’s “The Strawberry Tattoo,” and Lee Quarnstrom’s “The Shooter”.

Okay, okay. Enough about what I have to say. Check out reviews, interviews, and lists below.

See you soon, friends. Be good.


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