I finally got around to reading Thuglit 16 and I am wondering what planet I have been on to let this volume of stories slip so far down in my TBR pile as to have not read this much sooner. This is a super-strong collection of stories that blew my socks off. There is not a weak story in the bunch and it is impossible to pick a favorite. Here is a quick recap of the collection:
The Split by Eric Beetner: If you’re not reading Beetner, shame on you. His stories are tight and always entertaining. This story proves that the church may have the most powerful, yet evil men in their ranks. Beetner has intertwined the church and the local crime syndicate and come up with a tale that is both engaging and memorable. When you put a story like this in the leadoff spot in your collection you are either destined for a letdown (not a chance with this collection) or setting the bar high for the rest of the collection. Beetner is not your ideal leadoff hitter because he is more of a power hitter…and this is another home run for him. Great story.
Alchemy and Atrophy by Devon Robbins: This was one of the authors in the collection that were new to me and I was not disappointed in the offering. The story opens with a badly burned man being aided after a fire has ripped through his house. You would expect that he is a character who deserves great sympathy, but we quickly learn that the fire may have been an act of revenge and perhaps he is not the sympathetic figure the reader would expect him to be. This story plays out well and had me glued to the action. I will be looking into more stories written by Robbins.
The Beard by Ed Kurtz is exactly the type of writing I have come to expect from Kurtz…great plot, characters that are believable, and a breakneck pace of story telling. This story centers on what happens when revenge goes too far, even if the motives for wanting revenge are understandable. When sleazy lawyer, Larry Stockland, is seen in a local homosexual club despite being married to a woman, the main character of the story decides to out him through the local press. His motives? Stockland was the lawyer in his sister’s divorce and he had demonstrated morals would not stand in his way of getting his client the better end of the divorce agreement. When Stockland’s wife (the beard) decides she wants revenge of her own for her husband being outed so publicly, the plot kicks into high gear. Great read!
It Bothers Me by Erik Arneson was another great tale of revenge. Years ago, Carol lost her husband, Seth, to a violent encounter that left her heartbroken, widowed, and vengeful. Years have passed and she is back in the small town she grew up in, looking to extract her revenge on Mason, the man who took her husband away from her. But alas, our best-laid plans rarely come to fruition in the manner in which we envision them, and this holds true for Carol. This was a fun read and I really enjoyed it.
Blood Makes the Grass Grow by Bracken MacLeod was a hell of a good trip. During a trip to their local veterinarian, Sam and Callie Cooper get sucked into a situation that is way over their pay grade. This tale has drugs, guns, bear traps, and blood…a sure recipe for a winner! This story was so great I immediately bought another book by MacLeod and, dare I say, he could quickly be becoming one of my top authors to read. Awesome addition to this collection!
That Time by Scott Loring Sanders tells the tale of a son dealing with the death of his father. Any son tasked with the duty of burying his father and cleaning out his home, which in many ways means sorting through his father’s life, has a tough, emotional job in store. But this tale mixes in the twist of finding a dead body frozen in the father’s freezer…quite a twist indeed! I found this story to be a highly entertaining read and was happy to read a great tale by an author that was new to me.
Drone by Rob Hart takes a look at how technology can be used to a criminal’s advantage. When brothers Billy and Richie team up with Melinda to learn to use drones as a way to deliver drugs around the city, they think they have a business model that will propel them to the top of the drug dealing food chain. In order to promote their new business venture, they take meetings with high-level drug dealers and in typical nourish fashion; what can go wrong does go wrong. On the hook for over $40,000, they have to scramble to find their way out of the hole they have dug for themselves. Rob Hart is a great novelist and I am beginning to see that no matter what type of genre he pens, he is a writer to watch. Killer story by a great writer!
Overall this is a great collection of stories. I was initially drawn to it by the names of a few authors I had previous exposures to and I am walking away from it with a few new authors to keep tabs on. Add that to the fact that I got a few hours of entertainment from the book and you have a winner! Big Daddy Thug, Todd Robinson sure served up a hell of a winner. I will be gobbling up more Thuglit offering in the near future!