Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Available Now: BLADE OF DISHONOR by Thomas Pluck
Just over a year ago I ran an interview with New Jersey writer Thomas Pluck. In the introductory comments to the Q&A, I advised everyone to keep an eye out for this guy's byline because I knew there was nothing but bigger and better things coming from him. Well now, in addition to his impressive work in the short story field, he has just released his first novel – BLADE OF DISHONOR – and if you didn't take heed to my earlier urgings, you sure ought to do so now.
Trust me on this.
You'll only be sorry if you don't gobble it up the first chance you get.

This first novel by acclaimed short story writer Pluck, will doubtlessly and deservedly receive praise for its grit, relentless pace, and thrilling action. Beyond that, however, there is also its impressive depth of characterization, its ambitiously complex plot (complete with careful attention to historical accuracy), and the first-hand knowledge so evident in its fight sequences --- all told in a distinct style that seems lean and stripped-down yet richly detailed where it needs to be.
This is what big-scale blockbuster movies aim for but so seldom achieve … Over-the-top action grounded by real people you truly care about and want to root for.
Terrific stuff.
Do Not miss this one!

Monday, September 16, 2013

You might be a redneck if ... You Like the DEAD REDNECKS Series by Troy D. Smith

If you aren't familiar with this fun, entertaining detective mystery series by Troy D. Smith, then I recommend you make yourself familiar with it as soon as you get the chance. Well known for his Award-winning Westerns --- not to mention his teaching duties at Tennessee Tech and acting as the driving force behind Western Fictioneers' ongoing WOLF CREEK saga --- Troy also writes in various other genres. These tales of Hoss and Howard Qualls on the mean streets of Knoxville show he has a sure hand at just about anything he sets his sights on.
So far (one hopes this series is just getting started) there have been three DEAD REDNECKS titles. All are breezy, fast-paced novellas priced right at only $0.99 each on Kindle. They're a perfect way to relax before turning in for the night, or perhaps to enjoy over lunch.
Inasmuch as I have written an Amazon review for each, I will let my words from those provide a few more details:


This is the first in a promised series of "Dead Rednecks" books featuring ex-con Hoss Qualls and his brother Howard, a licensed PI.
Howard took up the plastic badge after a series of events caused him to have a mental breakdown (or, "went crazy" in Hoss's more direct way of stating things). During Howard's recovery he watched a Humphrey Bogart marathon on TCM and came out of it thinking his enlightened path forward was to emulate Bogie and strive to set things right in a corrupt, basically dishonest world.
Hoss, who knows all too well the difference between real-world crime and the fantasy kind Howard is out to thwart, decides he'd better tag along with his little brother in order to keep him from becoming a crime statistic of his own.
Their case in this opener is to clear their cousin Ivory of a murder he's been charged with. Complicating things is the fact that the latest victim was stabbed to death with a screwdriver--an MO Ivory has utilized and been convicted of in the past.
Award-winning Western author Troy Smith brigs a fresh voice, a fresh setting, a colorful cast of characters, and a down-home sense of humor to this entertaining mystery.


This is the second entry in the "Dead Rednecks" series from Troy Smith.
It again features the unlikely gumshoes Hoss Qualls, an ex-con, and his demented brother Howard, who thinks he is the Smoky Mountains' answer to Humphrey Bogart. We also meet their overly dramatic mother who believes herself to be on the brink of death at least four or five times a day.
This time out the Qualls boys are investigating a double shooting out in the backwoods that has left two men dead--one being a Qualls cousin, the other an old family nemesis. There are a number of curious circumstances to the event that the cops are too quick to accept, but not Hoss and Howard.
The mystery elements are not quite as strong in this second "Dead Rednecks" outing, but the writing is crisp, there are some nice touches of humor, and the setting and characters remain fresh and engaging.
Another enjoyable, entertaining read that will make you look forward to more of Hoss and Howard.

Dead Rednecks On A Friday Night

This third entry in the "Dead Rednecks" series continues in the tradition of the previous titles, presenting a fresh new setting populated with quirky, colorful characters and written in a breezy, fast-paced style. This time around, licensed PI Howard Qualls (who is a bit "eccentric", to say the least) has a paying client who inadvertently puts him in the path of some strongarm thugs who try to dissuade him from continuing the case ... Enter older, bigger, tougher ex-con brother Hoss who takes exception to his little brother getting pushed around. Once again it is Hoss, who displays brains (not hard to do in contrast to Howard) as well as brawn to help bring the case to a conclusion. A quick, fun, enjoyable read that will leave you looking forward to more (mis)adventures with Hoss and Howard.