Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Good things might come to those who wait, but trouble always seems to show up right away.
I first became familiar with Chris Leek after reading "Last Exit," his great tale of gritty revenge on the streets of Brooklyn that opens the Zelmer Pulp collection Maybe I Should Just Shoot You In The Face. And when I discovered his debut collection, which has one of the coolest titles ever for a compilation of crime stories, I knew I had to snatch it up!
She played me like a goddamn slot machine and knew exactly how hard to yank the handle to make me pay out.
I was so relieved to see that Leek's stories are exactly what they're supposed to be: short. Along with other authors I've been gravitating to recently, his efficient work is a breath of fresh air in this time of bloat in the crime genre. While there are so many short story authors out there who's stories sometimes feel like they're pushing into novella territory, the length of the pieces here average about 4-6 pages. In these little sketches of criminal life and the losers involved, Leek uses the great technique of jumping into a scene late and leaving it early, a technique that's perfect for the short story form. The stories usually open by throwing you right into the mix and then Leek's prose and structure knocks you around hard a bit and you barely have time to recover before jumping into the next round. As usual, some of the stories are better than others but it's a pretty damn good collection overall. My favorites were "The Johnny Cash Killer," "Take 'Em As They Come," "The Ties That Bind," and "Jacks, Queens, and Evens." Great pieces of work. If you enjoy good short crime fiction and you've got 2 bucks to spare, grab this short collection.
"Who the fuck are you?" he said.

I wanted to tell him, to scream "I'm Pete Jones motherfucker" in his face, making sure it was the last thing he heard before his organs shut down and he shit his designer jockeys. But my name wouldn't mean a damn thing to him and neither would hers. He didn't stop to ask it when he dragged her off the street and into the backseat of his beat-up Pinto. Names didn't matter; names were for toe tags and arrest warrants, not for revenge.

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