Sunday 18 February 2018



Slaughterhouse Blues catches up with Bill and Fiona, the chattery and gun-happy anti-heroes of A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps, soon after they’ve escaped the Rockaway Mob, the criminal enterprise from which Bill “borrowed” several million dollars. 

Holed up in Havana, Bill and Fiona know the Mob is coming for them—it’s just a question of time. But they’re not prepared for who the Mob sends: a pair of assassins so utterly amoral and demented, their behavior pushes the boundaries of sanity. Seriously, what kind of killers pause in mid-hunt to discuss the finer points of thread count and luxury automobiles? 

Forced on the run (again), Bill and Fiona will venture from the crumbling streets of Cuba to the steaming jungles of Nicaragua, and finally back to the mean streets of New York City. If they want to survive, our fine young criminals can’t retreat anymore: they’ll need to pull off a massive (and massively weird) heist—and the loot has some very dark history… 


“Dark, bleak and in-your-face, take-no-prisoners prose, everything you want in crime fiction.” —Frank Bill author of Donnybrook and Crimes in Southern Indiana

Fresh on the heels of reading Kolakowski's first road trip with Bill and Fiona - A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps, I'm back in the saddle with his latest offering - Slaughterhouse Blues.

No wannabee Elvis impersonators second time around, but a rival double act of Barbara and Ken out to give our sweethearts a hard time and an early grave. Bill and Fiona have separated, but fear not it's only a temporary logistical arrangement not one of broken dreams and shattered hearts.

Fiona's in Nicaragua, on a mission to replenish the dwindling purse, protecting a cigar factory run by some Anglos, while Bill is staying on the down-low in Cuba. Not low enough apparently, as he's caught some unwanted attention. Fiona's got it rougher, her job is a set-up and all her skills are required to escape barely intact from Crew Cut - Assassin #1.

A bit of recompense as well as the use of a hire plane to reconnect with Bill in Cuba are the order of the day. Our compensation is a big maybe, in the form of a tall tale and a pot of German gold, stashed back in the lion's den - New York and the Rockaway Mob's home turf. Always assuming Assassins #2+3 - Barbara and Ken can be outwitted.

Unsurprisingly, we have a few more scrapes and troubles between now and our climax. We have a far from dewy-eyed family reunion between Don, our teller of tales all things gold and his miserable father, James Dusty. Dusty Snr. is priceless. Wheelchair bound but with strong sperm apparently. Fortunately, we just get to take him at his word. There's gold to be liberated and heavy obstacles still to overcome.

Another fine read, slightly less madcap than the first outing, but still bordering absurdity at times. Humour, action, gun play, fashion, exotic settings, cray cray characters and a memorable car ride or two all feature.

Not a book, I'll forget in a hurry and with a third in the pipeline - Main Bad Guy - good reading lies ahead.

4.5 from 5

Nick Kolakowski has his website here.

A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps featured here.

Read in February, 2018
Published - 2018
Page count - 172
Source - review copy from author
Format - Kindle


  1. Sounds like quite the ride, Col. I really respect authors who can tell characters' ongoing adventures without losing readers who start a bit later in the series. That's not easy to pull off.

    1. I really enjoyed this one Margot. Ticks in a lot of boxes.

  2. Not sure what I think of that cover but the title is good. Sounds like he has an interesting series going.

    1. The cover certainly grabs your attention. I do like this kind of story and having more than one book with the same characters is a plus.