Tuesday 14 August 2018



A dozen dark fiction masters bring their twisted vision to the world of professional wrestling. Twelve original stories of crime, horror, humor, and taboo. Ohhh, yeahhh! This ain’t no kayfabe, baby. This is hard-hitting wrestling fiction that grips like a Camel Clutch, and pins the reader to the page for the count of one, two…THREE!

Includes a confrontational foreword by ring legend 'Pulverizing' Pat McCrunch (as told to Jeff Strand)… An all-new story starring Nick 'The Widowmaker' Bullman from James Newman’s wrestling noir, "Ugly as Sin"… And ex-boxer turned strip club bouncer Reggie Levine ("Tijuana Donkey Showdown," "Damn Dirty Apes") returns for another action-packed misadventure.

Original fiction by:
Jeff Strand
Tom Leins
James Newman
Eryk Pruitt
Adam Howe
Ed Kurtz
Hector Acosta
Joseph Hirsch
Duncan P. Bradshaw
David James Keaton
Gabino Iglesias
Patrick Lacey
and Jason Parent


Jeff Strand - Foreward..... very shouty, very in your face, larger than life

Tom Leins - Real Americans..... a former Native American wrestler turned drug-addled cop works a case  - I didn’t miss getting my ass handed to me by herniated middle-aged rednecks in sweat-streaked leotards. - and enjoys a re-union with a former wrestling acquaintance. Brutal and extremely harsh, climaxing in the best fight of his life. XXX-rated.

James Newman - A Fiend in Need .... Nick the Widowmaker Bullman saves the day, when a former colleague loses the plot, kills his wife and threatens his kids.

Eryk Pruitt - Last of the High-Flying Van Alstynes .... one of the last of the legendary Van Alstynes, a wrestling dynasty gets kidnapped and doped for his seed to create a new race of superhuman. Yes reallyFamily tragedies, family issues. 

Adam Howe - Rassle Hassle .... strip club bouncer Reggie Levine does a solid for a friend. Plenty going on here, a trip with a child to see his wrestling hero, destroying an undercover police op, sucking snake venom from a wrestler's ass and getting his own handed to him in the ring, before being carted off unconscious and in handcuffs. All in a night's work for Reggie.  

Ed Kurtz - Duluth ... an exhibition, a movie-man, a living nightmare and a date with his father. A bit of a strange one, truth be told.

Hector Acosta - From Parts Unknown ....  a family re-union and a reluctant acceptance of duty and obligation. Supernatural/other world elements.

Joseph Hirsch - Three Finger Bolo .... boxer turned wrestler turns boxer again in a re-enactment of WWII and a fearsome fight with The Hungry Hun and his pickelhaube helmet. 

Duncan P. Bradshaw - Glassjaw ..... some old timer advice to a young gun

David James Keaton - El Kabong ..... The brass knuckles I’d bought for the best man at our wedding were illegal, but that’s what I needed. I figured if you could commit a crime against humanity like playing an accordion in public, there was no reason they could outlaw such a beautiful natural extension of a man’s hand. - nailed it regarding accordion players! A man widowed, his wife stuffed in a guitar case. Different.

Gabino Iglesias - El Nuevo Santo's Last Fight .... a last fight, threats, intimidation and an intended fix - El Nuevo Santo has pride and other ideas in mind.

Patrick Lacey - Kill to be You .... wrestler-turned actor meets his own self several times before a switcheroo is pulled on him and a life of fame and adulation beckons for his opportunistic and manipulative other being. Yeah hard to explain rationally, but it worked when reading. Impossible, inexplicable, interesting

Jason Parent – Canadian Donkey Punch .... One of the best of the bunch. Our primary character is a wrestling ref who incurs the wrath of a hostile Canadian crowd and the vanquished wrestler when he arbitrarily decides the outcome of the bout. Being your own man comes with a consequence.

Adam Howe - Afterword ... an interesting page or two on the conception of the book and the difficult journey to press

An interesting and mostly enjoyable collection of wrestling themed short stories which I meandered my way through during June and July. There's a fair bit of diversity in the tales with a dash of supernatural elements in a couple, a tale from a referee's perspective, a bit of a crossover into boxing territory with steroid abuse, snake-bit asses, sweaty jockstraps and lots more to get your teeth into. Family crises, family abuse, family murder, familial reconciliation, old scores and long memories, broken bones and lots of blood spilled. Pride, revenge and redemption feature prominently.

Most enjoyable stories - the editor's story Rassle Hassle from Adam Howe, Tom Leins and his Real Americans and Jason Parent's Canadian Donkey Punch.
Editor - Adam Howe

Least enjoyable - hmm.... nothing sucked, I just happened to like a few a bit more than some of the others. In an anthology it would be strange for everything to rattle my bones.

Four of the authors have been enjoyed before - Tom Leins, Adam Howe, Ed Kurtz and Eryk Pruitt - so it was also an opportunity to see how I took to a few new folks. James Newman and Hector Acosta sit on the TBR pile with more from Leins, Howe and Pruitt to enjoy at some point.

4 from 5

Read in June/July, 2018
Published - 2017
Page count - 221
Source - review copy received from editor Adam Howe
Format - kindle



  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this, Col. I have to say, I don't think it's for me. I like a few of the premises, but the wrestling context? Nope, must admit, not for me.

    1. Margot, I had you pegged as a big big wrestling fan, so I'm a bit surprised! Haha

  2. Thanks Col! Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

    1. Cheers Tom. Lots to like in the collection.

  3. Hm. I think I'm more likely to read another Philo Vance mystery than take this book on. Or the telephone directory. But I'm glad to know you found it a knockout and were more or less won over by every submission.

    1. So I'll pop you down as a maybe then....

  4. Interesting topic to be writing about, but doesn't seem to be my cup of tea.

    1. Somehow I didn't have you marked down as a fan of Hulk Hogan in his Speedos....