It never fails. No matter what I've planned to read for this blog and how carefully I've penciled it in my to-do list, the minute I walk into a bookstore all bets are off. Anything could happen, and usually does. LeCarre's latest languishes on my nightstand because I found a spectacular anthology that I just had to read right away, and lucky for you, I'm going to tell you all about it.
Blood, Guts, and Whiskey (Kensington books, trade paperback, $14.00), is a collection of hard-boiled stories from the editor of ThugLit.com, Todd Robinson. Robinson curated these 24 tales of moral turpitude by 24 kick-ass writers, and, ladies and gentlemen, this is .44-caliber prose.
It's all here: Cynical anti-hero/heroines of dubious repute, murky pasts, dames up to no good, and use sex as a weapon, and enough violence so that the blood spatter brightens up the dark mood. The characters and scenes fairly jump off the page, immersing you so quickly the beer and desperation hit you like a wave of humid air.
Jordan Harper's Red Hair and Black Leather, the opener, sets the tone and starts this trip to the dark side where you'll meet a mobster with a bloody side job, a writer who discovers the darkness within, a couple of mobsters who run into trouble when someone flips the script on them, a shopkeeper at the end of his rope, and a mother who gives up her soul to make amends. That's just the tip of the iceberg. This is a stellar collection that won't disappoint.