An alcoholic cop, a Jesus freak, a pregnant homeless teenager, a stripper, a cop in debt to a gangster, and the manager of a fast food joint who is in the wrong place at the wrong time are all part of the rich and varied cast of characters in The Deepening Shade, Jake Hinkson’s superlative short story collection.
The writing is vivid, lyric and brutal. The stories are powerful and involving. The characters are human, all too human.
Every story in this collection is a gem but standouts for me were Makers And Coke, Night Terrors, The Serpent Box and Our Violence.
Very highly recommended.
Christopher Grant‘s late great A Twist Of Noir was one of the first places to publish my yarns, and was the home to writing from all sorts of top crime crime writers. Including Eric Beetner who went all capricious when he came up with this:
‘Keith and Jake were two of the sorriest excuses for criminals you ever saw. Individually they couldn’t find their own asses with a flashlight and a map but together there was something about the yin and yang of the two opposites that held them together and made them a team.’
Read the rest HERE.
‘Two days ago, I woke up with my face buried in the green industrial carpet of a hotel room. I was still in my police uniform, but my mask was crooked and my black cape was wrapped around my throat. When I pushed myself up, my head slopped around like a goldfish bowl. Taking a deep breath, I looked around the room. It wasn’t familiar. I don’t have x-ray vision like some of the guys at my precinct—Sergeant Benavidez can even see through lead—so all I had to go on was the room I was in.’
Read the rest here at BEAT TO A PULP.
The Big Ugly by Jake Hinkson tells the story of an ex-con fresh out of the slammer and is like a master class in 21st century hardboiled crime fiction. Classic and fresh at the same time. Great stuff.
Here’s the blurb: ‘Ellie Bennett is an ex-corrections officer who has just served a year inside Eastgate Penitentiary for assaulting a prisoner. She’s only been out for a day when she accepts a strange job offer from the head of a Christian political advocacy group. He wants her to track down a missing ex-con named Alexis. Although no one knows where Alexis has gone, it seems like everyone in Arkansas is looking for her—from a rich televangelist running for Congress to the governor’s dirty tricks man. When Bennett finds the troubled young woman, she has to decide whether to hand her over to the highest bidder or help her escape from the most powerful men in the state.’
Paul is a troublemaker. A rough and ready kind of guy, he loses his job in a Mississippi plastics factory after getting into a fight with the Foreman.
So, he hits the road and ends up in Texaco. Running low on cash, he decides to rob a fat man and steal his car. But things don’t go to plan.
The fat man introduces himself as Geoffrey Webb and he tells the harrowing story of his time as a youth minister at a small Baptist church in Arkansas and his seemingly inevitable descent into something painfully close to a literal hell as his life spirals out of control and ever downward.
Hell On Church Stree
t is Jake Hinkson’
s impressively confident debut novel and it is simply magnificent.
An incredibly dark but richly hued blend of Jim Thompson
‘s brand of noir and Camus’ The Fall
, Hell On Church Street
is both gripping and chilling. Beautifully written, perfectly paced and full of harsh insights into the innate duplicity (and self-duplicity) of human beings. Absolutely brilliant.