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BEAT to a PULP: Hardboiled by Glenn Gray

BEAT to a PULP: Hardboiled

by Glenn Gray (Contributor), Patricia Abbot (Contributor), Garnett Elliott (Contributor), Kent Gowran (Contributor), Brad Green (Contributor)5 more, John Hornor Jacobs (Contributor), Ron Earl Phillips (Contributor), Thomas Pluck (Contributor), Ron Scheer (Introduction), Kieran Shea (Contributor)

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A feast of great stories. I recommend this for discerning readers of gritty pulp. Some of the standouts from this collection include: "A Small Thing At The Devil's Punchbowl" by Kent Gowran, which starts off with a guy (Wally) pouring bourbon over his bowl of cornflakes and saying that it was like a "pack of rabid monkeys playing skee-ball in my brain." Turns out Wally "had been a circus strongman until a cuckolded clown cut his legs out from under him with a blast from a double-barrel shotgun." Now, that's what I call writing. Gowran absolutely nails it with this story. The narrator is Ray Perkins. He's
from some small town somewhere and his one regret in life is that he didn't go to California with Georgia Samson, only to find her ten years later nailed to the floor in the master bedroom of a Beverly Hills
mansion with her "dead green eyes" staring up at him. I don't know what else Gowran has written, but I am going to find out. If you think that medical school has properly prepared you for an autopsy, you haven't read "Obstruction" by Glenn Gray, a story that step-by-step walks you through the process. John Hornor Jacobs' "The Death Fantastique" is about a young lady with a tattoo. It's about Efram, Melissa, and Ray-Ray and how they got
along in Arkansas. It is a violent tale that will sear images upon your sight that you can't get rid of. Most of all, it's a damn good read. ( )
  DaveWilde | Sep 22, 2017 |
The Beat to a Pulp website (www.beattoapulp.com) was established by editor and publisher David Cranmer as an outlet for writers of hardboiled fiction. The site is geared towards diversity and presents stories that run the gamut of pulp genres and provide readers with a real sense of pulpy adventure. "Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled" (edited by Cranmer and Scott D. Parker) is a compilation of thirteen uncompromising, gritty tales in the tough and violent pulp tradition. There is something to be said for each of the tales here, all of which take a standard pulp trope and go off in a strange and twisted directions. All the tales are short, sharp and taut and don't waste a single word. I particularly enjoyed "Bull's Eye View" by Wayne D. Dundee (all hell breaks loose in a sleepy lake town when a hit man trying to go into hiding comes to town) and "The Death Fantastique" by John Hornor Jacobs (a mob enforcer is quietly babysitting a block of cocaine, until two small time operators get wind of the gear and seek to relieve him of it). Also hugely interesting is the introduction to the volume entitled "Hard Times" by Ron Scheer, which provides both a historical and political context for hardboiled fiction – a hugely, interesting, informative and revealing piece. "Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled" is an excellent collection of gripping, varied, skilfully developed and highly entertaining stories. ( )
  calum-iain | Nov 10, 2013 |
Disclaimer: I have a story in this anthology.
But leaving that out, this was a great read. You got some quick hard slaps of pulpy goodness from John Hornor Jacobs, Amy Grech and Ron Earl Phillips, a heartbreaker from Patti Abbott, a great tense tale by Kieran Shea, a yakuza black comedy by Garnett Elliott, shenanigans at the morgue with Glenn Gray, and one hell of a finisher: a Joe Hannibal tale from Wayne Dundee, which shows us all how it's done. Written with the ease of a natural storyteller, his tale of a hitman popping up at a lake resort didn't go where I expected, and introduced me to a trio of masterfully crafted characters. The kind of writing that makes your inner reader joyful and your inner writer humbled.
Overall an excellent collection spanning the legacy of hardboiled, from newcomers like myself to a legend like Mr. Dundee, who began Hardboiled magazine.

And to toot my own horn, the story of mine in here is "Black-Eyed Susan," picked out for several top-5 lists at Death by Killing, and winner of the Bullet award in September.

Check this one out, you won't regret it. ( )
  TommySalami | Mar 14, 2013 |
This book lives up to its title in that its stories are brutal and filled with violence. They are also, nearly without exception, well-written. Some of the authors, however, are much better at writing good sentences than they are at stringing them together into a suspenseful, meaningful story. Not a bad read, however.

Introduction: Hard Times by Ron Scheer (no rating)
This is an intelligent look at the origins of noir and its place in the 21st Century.

The Tachibana Hustle by Garnett Elliott ** 1/2
Enjoyable story of Japanese mafioso and Pac Man machines, but doesn't really have a point to make.

A Small Thing at the Devil's Punchbowl by Kent Gowran ** 1/2
Man goes in search of a woman's missing son in Las Vegas. Pretty good atmosphere, and I like the ending, but the instant love story doesn't cut it.

Obstruction by Glenn Gray ****
An autopsy turns into a bloodbath! This deliberately stomach churning story is very well done and original.

The Death Fantastique by John Hornor Jacobs ****
A truly brutal but very well written story about a really bad day in the life of a really bad guy who gets mixed up with a hooker and a guy who thinks he's the baddest man in El Dorado, Arkansas. I think the memory of this one may last.

Ric with No K by Patricia Abbot ****
Not a lot of surprises in this story of a teenage girl and her much older boyfriend, but it is well-written and rings (sadly) true.

Black-Eyed Susan by Thomas Pluck *****
Bar goer brags of his conquests to new bartender. This is a perfect piece of short fiction, instantly engaging, and building quickly to a memorable climax.

The Blooming of Lester by Brad Green ** 1/2
Visceral, well-written, but a little to nihilistic for my tastes. And having the bad guy named Hilton Fishtrap is just a little too much.

The Janitor by Ron Earl Phillips ***
A little muddled, but a good slice of the side of life I only want to read about in books.

Vengeance on the 18th by David Cranmer ****
A man finds out his wife is fooling around and does what a man's got to do. Except...

Second Round Dive by Benoit Lelievre **
Boxer takes a dive to make some easy money to pay his ex-wife so he can get to see his son again. Then repents, then decides to do it again, with unexpected results. The author has an idea here, but doesn't do much to take it above a basic level of interest.

The Second Coming of Hashbrown by Kieran Shea **
An old pal, gone bad, returns for a visit. Nice atmosphere and another set of characters I don't want to know, but way too linear.

.38 Special by Amy Grech *
Pointless (no pun intended).

Bull's-Eye View by Wayne D. Dundee ** 1/2
PI runs into hitman who has come to Nebraska for a little "vacation". This is interesting, and like most stories in the book it is well-written, but while it presents some sketchily drawn but interesting characters, there is no real suspense or complexity to make it a memorable story. ( )
  datrappert | Jun 5, 2012 |
Showing 4 of 4
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gray, GlennContributorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Abbot,PatriciaContributormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Elliott, GarnettContributormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Gowran, KentContributormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Green, BradContributormain authorall editionsconfirmed
John Hornor JacobsContributormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Phillips, Ron EarlContributormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Pluck, ThomasContributormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Scheer, RonIntroductionmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Shea, KieranContributormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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