Friday, July 26, 2013

Criminal Love by Mike Monson

This short story collection starts off with two I published at All Due Respect, so I'm hardly an unbiased reviewer. That said, I chose those two because they do exactly what I look for at ADR--stories about criminals from a criminal's perspective. They ooze with grimy atmosphere and dark humor.

I had read many of these before, but enjoyed them on a second go around. In particular, "Heritage Classic," one of the more literary of the bunch that deals with identity crisis, proves to be a moving, detailed piece and one of my favorite short stories of the year.

This is a fast, fun read--a perfect way to kill a boring commute or a wait at the dentist's office. Check it out on the Amazon's for 99 cents.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Thunderbird by Jon Konrath

Where the hell did this dude come from?

Just the titles are jaw-dropping: "The Long John Silver Vinegar Douche Abortion Attempt Situation," "Bearded Women Shitting on Glass Tables Is Sort of My Thing," "Vehicular Handjobs and Pirate Hooks," "Fratboy Brad and the Clamato Aquarium of Doom."

From that you should know whether this book is for you.

Each story is from a first-person perspective--the narrator being some version of the author. The effect is that this reads more like a novel, except without a plot and only one character instead of a cast of characters. Nevertheless, the result is remarkably cohesive, each story a gallon of gonzo, fever dream insanity inside of a Sizzler's buffet of obscure American cultural references.

It's hard to put my finger on why this book is so damn good, but I think part of it is the details Konrath mines. Check out the opening line to "The Manuel Noriega/Yo Yo Ma UFC Matchup": "I was playing miniature golf with Diane Keaton and Kim Jong Il in a Dubai Montgomery Ward store and we stopped to eat a sheet cake off the ass of Orson Welles, meticulously decorated by a Kroger cashier to say 'Shove it up your cunt/you are so dumb' in thick gel frosting letters."


Soon as I finished Thunderbird I wanted to re-read it. Instead I went out and got another collection of his short stories, Fistful of Pizza, which was every bit as good.

Friday, July 19, 2013

All Due Respect Updates

So it's been too fucking long since I last posted, but you know, I'm a busy man or something.

Anyway, go check out Steve Prusky's sharp, sad Vegas story "Willy's Complaint" and Ryan Sayles's deeply disturbing "Push, Push, Push."

And the All Due Respect team has doubled (from one to two!) with the addition of Mike Monson. Mike joined the online scene last year (I think...) and he's had a story up at the site and in the anthology. He also recently released a collection of short fiction, Criminal Love, which you should pick up.

I'll have a couple of exciting projects to announce and some reviews in the near future, so stay tuned.

Lastly but not leastly, if you're want to hone your short fiction chops, check out this class with Needle Editor Steve Weddle over at LitReactor on how to best tailor your work for editors. I don't normally plug this kind of thing, but Steve edits what I consider the best crime fiction zine out there. Not to mention that he's an excellent writer and a class act.