Scumbag newspaper reporter Lionel Kaspar aimlessly wanders from one scam to the next. Trying to claw his way to anywhere, Kaspar fabricates news stories and blackmails a local bureaucrat. What little success Kaspar stumbles upon he wastes betting on sports and drinking. But when Greg Hulas, his competitor, starts investigating him, Kaspar becomes desperate to maintain his position.
Squeeze is another impressive offering from publisher All Due Respect - home to assorted miscreants, vagrants, conmen, addicts and grifters. I'm not sure if that's their authors or just the main characters in the books they publish. Maybe both. Outsider fiction rules!
We enjoy(?) a trip to the dark side in the company of a not especially likable main protagonist. Lionel Kaspar rolls through life, gambling and drinking and having lucked/lied his way into a job as a journalist/reporter making shit up. All goes well until it doesn't.
Gambling, drinking, scheming, a bit of blackmail, a shakedown, some close calls, and a turning tables moment, from cross town rival Craig Hulas. Kaspar is wrung tighter than
a nun's... a tick on a hound and snaps. It's noir, man. Things do not end well for pretty much anyone.
Funny, irreverent, dark and for a reader who has had his own issues with one of Kaspar's afflictions, uncomfortable. At times I felt like I was rubber-necking at a car crash, unable to look away.
Never less than interesting, even if it made me remember some stuff I'd much rather forget.
4.5 stars from 5
Two Bullets Solve Everything - a double offering with Ryan Sayles. Funny enough, Rhatigan's contribution to that two-fer was another Lionel Kaspar tale - A Pack of Lies.
Read - November, 2021
Published - 2016
Page count - 160
Source - purchased copy
Format - Kindle