All Due Respect's fourth edition is out, featuring a blistering story by Mike Toomey.
So far this newer publication has focused on the raw stuff--and this startling piece is no exception. The narrator--a former petty crime guy gone semi-straight--receives a call out of the blue from an old connection, Sven, who was recently released from prison. Sven needs him for a job, to help him get even with the guy who plea bargained and put him away for many years. Since Sven now walks with a limp, he needs some back up, someone to stand around and look tough. Turns out this standing around job is harder than it would first appear.
Outstanding dialog carries this sharp story. Toomey might be the smoothest dialog writer this side of Robert Parker. In short, punchy back-and-forths with no tags, he tells you everything you need to know--what the characters are like, the setting, the details, the stakes--everything.
And there isn't a single twist in the story. It's just unflinching, haunting. Sven's humanity was stolen from him in prison--and Toomey fleshes out this part with rich back story--and now he's going to take it back.