Wednesday, 23 October 2013

2 BY FRANK BILL



















As I sort through my books later this year and early next, I will highlight a couple of books by an author that I reckon I’m going to enjoy at some point in the future and see if I can tempt anyone else to give them a try.

This week’s author is Frank Bill.

Frank has to date published two books; one collection of short stories and his first novel.

The back cover of Crimes in Southern Indiana reads..... Welcome to Heartland America circa right about now, when the union jobs and family farms that kept the white on the picket fences have given way to meth labs, backwoods gunrunners, and bare-knuckle brawling.

Frank Bill's southern Indiana is haunted by a deep, abiding sense of place, and Frank Bill's people are men and women pressed to the brink - and beyond. They are survivors, and in Frank Bill's hands, their stories bristle with noir energy.

Flat-out fearless and unputdownable, Crimes in Southern Indiana is at once a gut punch and a wake-up call - and the announcement of an authentic, original American literary voice we simply can't ignore.

Praised by.....

“Good Lord, where in the hell did this guy come from? Blasts off like a frigging rocket ship and hits as hard as an ax handle to the side of the head after you’ve eaten a live rattlesnake for breakfast. One of the wildest damn rides you’re ever going to take inside a book.” —Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff

“Frank Bill’s characters all seem to be hurtling at ninety miles an hour down dead end streets, and his recounting of their passage is vivid and unforgettable. Like Barry Hannah on amphetamines, but the voice is undeniably Bill’s own.”—William Gay, author of Provinces of Night

“What can I say about this book? This: planning a summer trip north from Mississippi, these stories caused me to reroute to avoid Southern Indiana. Mr. Bill knows his people well, and writes like they live—on the edge of the edge. Just plain unforgettable fiction.” —Tom Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter



The back cover of Donnybrook reads...... The Donnybrook is a three-day bare-knuckle tournament held on a thousand-acre plot out in the sticks of southern Indiana. Twenty fighters. One wire-fence ring. Fight until only one man is left standing while a rowdy festival of onlookers - drunk and high on whatever's on offer - bet on the outcome.

Jarhead is a desperate man who'd do just about anything to feed his children. He's also the toughest fighter in southeastern Kentucky, and he's convinced that his ticket to a better life is one last fight with a cash prize so big it'll solve all his problems. Meanwhile, there's Chainsaw Angus - an undefeated master fighter who isn't too keen on getting his face punched anymore, so he and his sister, Liz, have started cooking meth. And they get in deep. So deep that Liz wants it all for herself, and she might just be ready to kill her brother for it.

As we travel through the backwoods on the way to the Donnybrook, we meet a cast of nasty, ruined characters driven to all sorts of evil, all in the name of getting their fix - drugs, violence, sex, money, honour. Donnybrook is exactly the fearless, explosive, amphetamine-fuelled journey you'd expect from Frank Bill's first novel . . . and then some.

Praised by Daniel Woodrell, Megan Abbott, Craig Johnson and Bonnie Jo Campbell.

Woodrell says...”Donnybrook, is vivid in its violence, grim in its grimness. It reams the English language with a broken beer bottle and lets the blood drops tell the story."

That’s good enough for me then!

I will read one of these, possibly both in 2014 as one of the entries for the USA state reading challenge I’m participating in. I bet you can’t guess which state figures!








16 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Jose, thanks. I'm looking forward to it/them. I take it you have read one or both then?

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    2. Just the first one Col, Crimes in Southern Indiana, but am looking forward to reading the novel any time soon.

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    3. Great, I'm going to hold off until January then start with the shorts. By the time I have read both - he will probably have something else out....but then I'm trying to give up the book-buying!

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  2. Well if Jose hadn't given you some endorsement, you know I'd be accusing you of making them up! Good Lord. Will look forward to reading your reviews, but somehow don't think I'll be reading them first....

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    1. Moira, I'm shocked. I even took my own photos to verify the existence of them! (Perhaps I knew the accusation was lurking,)

      I would have thought you would want to be savvy in respect of recent meth-lab fashions. My mistake.

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  3. Col - Hard to believe those books are really out there! Not my sort of thing, but if you do get the chance to read them I'll be interested in what you think.

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    1. Margot - no problem. It's a good job I'm not a salesman, otherwise I would probably starve! No converts yet.....

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  4. Ha, I bought both after Jose read and reviewed Crimes in Southern Indiana Stories. Woodrell's endorsement didn't hurt either.

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    Replies
    1. Keishon, YESSSSSSSSS!

      I was thinking to myself Keishon will come through on this, she likes some down and dirty crime!

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    2. LOL, yes, yes I do. I will read it if it's good. My motto in my book life.

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    3. I'll be waiting on your reviews!

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  5. Col, these are pretty unusual books and I like the graffiti-style covers.

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    1. Prashant thanks. I do like a mean cover. How could you look at them and not want to find out more?

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  6. Well, not sure about these. I am interested in knowing about the state of the state of Indiana, but maybe not with so much violence and grimness. I will have to read Jose's review and wait until you and Keishon review them.

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    1. Tracy, probably not everyone's cup of tea to be honest. I'll read them so you don't have to!

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