KNUCKLEDRAGGER by Rusty Barnes. “A slick crime story that starts on Boston’s North Shore, and eventually leads us down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass…” —Matt Phillips. More
In Knuckledragger, hooligan and low-level criminal enforcer Jason “Candy” Stahl (“Irish” to his sometime girlfriend Rosario) has made a good life collecting money for his boss Otis, breaking the occasional leg or elbow, fucking Rosario, and living the life in Revere, MA. One collection trip, though, at the Diovisalvo Liquor Store, unravels events that turn Candy’s life into a horror-show.
In quick succession he moves up a notch in the organization, overseeing a chop shop, while he falls in lust with Otis’s girlfriend Nina, gets beaten for insubordination, and is forced to run when Otis finds out about Candy and Nina’s affair.
Events stretch as far as Houston, Texas, where Otis and Candy have a final showdown where everything is at stake. Loser gets nothing.
Praise for KNUCKLEDRAGGER:
“Knuckledragger is fast and hard as a punch you remember for the rest of your life. The prose bursts with rough-hewn power, the pace is blistering, and the characters will break your heart. You couldn’t ask for a better slice of modern noir.” —Nick Kolakowski, author of A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps
“Knuckledragger is pulpy as hell, and with a plot as sick and twisted as a street pimp. As an enforcer for a local scumbag, Candy gets his share of bitter. Especially when the wrong girl gets sweet on him. When you find yourself on the wrong end of a beating, sometimes there’s nothing to do but run. But remember—the scumbags are always right behind you. Good thing Candy and his girl have guns. And guts. Too bad they can’t run fast enough. Or far enough. A slick crime story that starts on Boston’s North Shore, and eventually leads us down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass…” —Matt Phillips, author of Three Kinds of Fool, Redbone, and Bad Luck City
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