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Go Down Hard by Craig Faustus Buck

Go Down Hard

by Craig Faustus Buck

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Sex, Thugs, and Rock-n-Roll

The wild, daring, sexy and outrageously original crime novel from Macavity Award winner and two-time Anthony Award nominee Craig Faustus Buck.

Nob Brown is a divorced, disillusioned thirty-something ex-cop turned bottom-feeding tabloid writer. His best friend and occasional lover, Gloria Lopes, is an LAPD detective who needs an Excel spreadsheet to chart her sex life. When Gloria slips Nob the confidential file on the unsolved twenty-year-old murder of a legendary rock-and-roll goddess, Nob hopes to solve the crime and propel himself out of the tabloids and into a lucrative book deal. But he pokes into the wrong holes and unearths rotting secrets that give rise to fresh corpses. As the cold case comes to a fast boil, Nob is forced to battle for his own survival.
My take......

Ex-cop turned journalist, Nob Brown decides to look into the 20 year old unsolved murder of Lana Strain – rock goddess and his adolescent wet dream after friend with benefits Gloria, a cop loans him the file. Nob, strapped for cash, with his ex-wife Holly threatening to make him homeless, thinks there may be a few bucks to be made with a story around the anniversary of Lana’s demise.

Nob starts with Lana’s family. Dysfunctional to say to least. There’s her ex-husband Billy Kidd - a former rock star turned born again Evangelist. A couple of grown up daughters, both in and out of therapy over the years, both with obvious problems and the pair of them estranged from each other. One of them, Sophia is now living with her former shrink who also happened to have been unethically treating her sister at the same time. Ethics not counting for too much if you end up having a long term relationship with one of your patients anyway. Ginger, the other daughter makes a living getting her kit off regularly in a porn studio for a pay-per-view audience while dressed up as her mother. Cybersex with Lana Strain! Lana’s father and the girls’ grandfather is on the periphery estranged from either one or both girls – I can’t remember and not having been particularly close to Lana at the time of her death anyway.

As Nob tries to untangle the families fractured relationships and make sense of who did what to whom, who’s lying, who’s genuine, who got cheated out of their inheritance and who might have murdered Lana; we have a further death in the family, plenty of sex and cross paths more than fleetingly with a Russian crime boss and a crooked but connected lawyer – neither of whom are kindly disposed to Nob making his inquiries.

An interesting and enjoyable mystery if not a trifle over-long in my opinion.

I liked a few of the characters, Nob, his assistant Melody, Gloria and Billy and I was keen to see how it all played out. There's a bit of action, I liked the scenes where we met Vlad the Impaler, our Russian gangster and also the friction between Nob and Holly. A fair bit of humour in the book too, which helped. It just seemed to take a while to get where we were going… 370 pages in fact.

4 from 5

I’ve read and enjoyed Craig Faustus Buck before. Psycho Logic was enjoyed in March (no post on it yet) and I loved his short story Dead End back in October 2014

Go Down Hard was a Net Galley book courtesy of publisher Brash Books.
Read in July, 2016

https://col2910.blogspot.co.uk/2016/0... ( )
  col2910 | Aug 12, 2016 |
Nob Brown is a tabloid writer, that last ditch profession of an educated man down on his luck. Nob's girlfriend, who happens to be a cop, lets him in on some departmental news and Nob is revealed as a former teen rocker who was madly in love with Lana Strain, a rock star murdered years ago.

This is the leadoff to a smart and funny mystery with lots of twists and turns. Is Lana dead or not? What do her sisters know? And why is all this coming up now.

"Go Down Hard" is not the best detective story you will read this year but it isn't bad. Perfectly acceptable for the beach or a long airplane ride.

I received a review copy of "Go Down Hard" by Craig Faustus Buck (Brash) through NetGalley.com. ( )
  Dokfintong | Apr 29, 2016 |
We all remember that female singer that made us crazy as adolescent boys. The one that you fantasized about meeting up close in the most intimate and very personal way. Okay, don’t admit it, but I did. I am also not about to say who that was, but I still have all her records. Not CDs like the kids today have, but the old vinyl records. For Nob Brown that certain singer was, and to a certain extent still is, Lana Strain. Her murder twenty years ago remains an unsolved case.

LAPD Lieutenant Gloria Lopes has decided to give the murder book to Nob in an effort to cheer him up. Nob used to be a cop before he walked away from the job. These days Nob is having a hard time on a variety of fronts including working as a freelance writer. The Lieutenant, who also happens to be his frequent bedroom and anywhere else sexual partner, says that she is giving him the book for six days so that he can do research and just maybe sell a piece on the murder as part of a twenty year retrospective on the stunning beautiful singer. Considering Nob is known as a true crime writer, as well as any other kind of writing that pays the mounting bills, this temporary gift of the murder book for a legendary cold case that is still a hot bed of publicity just might save him form the financial ruin of his recent divorce.

Lana Strain died when Nob was 17. It rocked his world at the time and the incident still shakes him to the core when he sees the brutality of the crime scene photos. While giving him the murder book for the stated reason of Nob’s being able to sell some writing is one goal, Nob is highly motivated to solve the crime the LAPD has not been able to for all these years.

Twenty years after Lana’s violent death in her home, Nob’s poking around will bring him contact with her family, Russian organized crime, porno peddlers, and more in Go Down Hard by Craig Faustus Buck. It also might get him and everyone he cares about killed as someone works to tie off loose ends uncovered by his poking into the cold case.

While some reviews have referred to this as a mystery noir spoof that would imply far more humor and slapstick than there is in the book. Nothing in this hard hitting and often violent book is remotely slapstick. At times graphic in terms of language and descriptions, this is a crime noir style story with an underpinning of sarcasm throughout the read. Nob Brown tends towards the sarcastic in word and action, but when things get dangerous he is prepared to be one hundred percent serious to get the job done.

According to the recent interview with the author on The Rap Skeet Blog this is the start of a new series. That is excellent news and this book was incredibly good. Go Down Hard by Craig Faustus Buck, recently published by Brash Books, is very much worth it and one you should not miss. It is one of those books that if the award committees and voters in various organizations have any sense next spring it will be up for quite a few awards.

Go Down Hard
Craig Faustus Buck
Brash Books
May 2015
E-Book (also available in print)
368 Pages

Material supplied by the author in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2015 ( )
  kevinrtipple | Sep 27, 2015 |
This book has a lot of glowing reviews. I'm going to step outside the norm; I didn't love it. For the most part, I didn't even like it.

The genre is marketed as a "noir mystery", but it's more like whodunit crime fiction. The attempt at noir mainly comes through as sarcastic humor and juvenile sex references. This is only an observation meant for those serious readers looking for a true noir experience. Genre isn't an important factor for me when I read, though it does create expectations.

With any fiction book, I'm always drawn to characters first. These characters, for me, are stereotypical and one-dimensional. The story is told in first person, from Nob's perspective. He's a cop-turned-writer who acts like an inexperienced PI. I couldn't help but wonder what happened to his professional training. I didn't like him. He's sarcastic, all the time, and rarely has a serious or honest conversation.

Then there's Gloria, his best friend with benefits. She's an unprofessional homicide detective, who is brash and apparently can't keep her clothes on around Nob. I think the author intended her to be bold and independent, but she comes off instead as childish, impetuous, and needy. She's always grabbing at his crotch and making inappropriate comments in public, which feel more like she's trying to lay claim to property than her being a free sexual spirit. This is accented by the fact that, despite claims of her not being monogamous and wanting new sex partners all the time, Nob is the only man she's falling all over.

We also have Nob's assistant, Melody, who has a small and annoying part. I can only assume the author intended for her to be quirky. I thought she was ridiculous. Throughout the book, she'd randomly drop into a split or stick her foot up behind her ear, in the midst of a conversation, just because she could. She behaved like an eight-year-old.

And, finally, I have to mention the cast of bad guys. They were all thoroughly interchangeable, like stock characters picked off a shelf. Each had all the expected bad guy traits - nothing more and nothing less.

Now on to the plot. From my perspective, it's kind of a tangled mess. I have to give the author credit for his attempt in tackling a serious topic. But the sarcastic, childish nature of the characters took away from any real meaning behind the content.

I was also bugged by some inconsistencies. For instance, early in the story Nob mentions that Lana named her two daughters after classic movie stars. Then, later in the story when a clue pops up having to do with classic movies, Nob states that he never saw Lana as the "classic movie type". Also, at one point in the story he digs out his gun for protection, commenting that he rarely carries one because they make him uncomfortable. He was a cop! I likely noticed this stuff more because I was already irritated by all the sarcasm, brashness, and unprofessional behavior.

I wish I could be as enthusiastic about this book as the majority of readers. I was excited to read a book combining rock 'n' roll with the noir genre, but it just didn't work for me.

*I was provided with a free copy by the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.* ( )
  Darcia | Sep 10, 2015 |
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