Now available: The Fix

the-fixBuster’s got a mean right hook. Or, he did, until he put Ronnie Piccolo’s lights out in the fourth round of a fixed boxing match. See, Buster’s also got a mean heroin addiction, and he needs the money. Unfortunately for him, his failure to take a dive runs him afoul of a psychotic bookie, his henchman, and a fucking heavy sledgehammer.

Jimmy “Two Tickets To” Paradise knows the sledge well. His career ended a few years back when his weasel of a best friend tried the same scam on the very same bookie. Now he’s working in a machine shop, punching the clock, and caring for his pregnant girlfriend. When the same friend shows up on his doorstep, dying of ALS and begging to make amends, Jimmy will take him back to the part of Chicago where the cops take their time and the crooks handle their business with railroad ties.

There’s a bag full of money waiting where the streetlights are all shot out, where the windows are all boarded up. And swirling around it like blood in a drain is a rogue’s gallery of hammer-wielding killers, fast-talking thieves, and mutilated has-beens, all of them looking for revenge, closure, and the mother of all paydays.

“THE FIX floats like a butterfly and stings like a sledgehammer to the face. This fast-paced, loving homage to its crime fiction forefathers swings like pure pulp magic.”

Jeremy Robert Johnson, author of Skullcrack City and We Live Inside You

Now available from Broken River Books

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Book review: The Last Kind Words, by Tom Piccirilli

The Last Kind WordsThe Last Kind Words by Tom Piccirilli
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You there, with that book in your hand. Put that down. Now, pick up this one and resume. No, seriously. You don’t want to be reading that, you need to be reading this.

Sometimes you read a book and can just tell the author is trying too hard to make it something more than it is. That is not this kind of book. The Last Kind Words is literary crime fiction that doesn’t feel like it’s trying to be anything but a great fucking story. There is no frill or filler here, no need to seem smarter than your average hard-boiled thriller. It just is. It’s quiet when it needs to be, bloody as hell when the time is right, with enough surprises to keep things skipping along, but not so hung up on the whodunit that the story or the characters get pushed aside.

That’s what I love about Piccirilli. He doesn’t overplay his hand, he just writes. He doesn’t tell you stories, his characters do. This was my fourth or fifth Tom Piccirilli book in the past year or so, and I’m clamoring for more. I look forward to catching up on his entire backlist, even if it doesn’t compare to TLKW. Pic currently resides atop my list of favorite authors, cemented there by this book. Start reading this guy, right now. Start with this one, absorb it, revel in it, then go get more.

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