Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Freebie: Crimes in Southern Indiana by Frank Bill

Congratulations to Valerie Rebecca, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate.

This week's book giveaway is Crimes in Southern Indiana by Frank Bill.  Fans of Donald Ray Pollock, Jim Thompson and James Ellroy should sit up and take notice.  Bill is the real deal.  His blood is hardboiled.  Cut him, he bleeds noir.  I've only dipped into his debut collection of short stories, but what I've read thrills me with its white-hot, no-holds-barred, fever-pitch language.  Namby-pambies need not apply.  Consider these two openings from "The Accident" and "A Coon Hunter's Noir":
      With the phone in his hand and a dial tone on the line, Stanley's still waking up. Between each ring he's somewhere amid being dragged by a tractor-trailer and a billionaire becoming a street vagrant.
      When the doctor's "suck-retary" questions what the appointment is for, Stanley tells her anxiety. Depression. Maybe even shock. Take your pick. Stanley wonders why a patient cannot call his doctor and say, I just feel like shit today.

J. W. Duke was choking down his fifth cup of kettle coffee, nursing a hangover, when his wife, Margaret, came through the kitchen door, screaming as if her skin had been pressed through a cheese grater. "J. W.? J. W.?"

Crimes in Southern Indiana was just released by Farrar, Straus and Giroux but the critics are already lapping it up.  Library Journal raved: "This gritty, violent debut collection begins rather like pulp genre fiction then deepens into something much more significant and powerful. Set in a dilapidated, seedy, nightmare version of southern Indiana, complete with meth labs, dog-fighting rings, and all manner of substance abuse, the stories are connected by recurring characters.  The collection opens with vignettes focused mainly on carnage.  But as readers go deeper, the stories lengthen, with Bill turning his attention to psychology and character development and bringing the community to life in fascinating ways."

For a chance at winning a copy of Crimes in Southern Indiana, all you have to do is answer this ridiculously-easy question:

What's the name of the author's blog?

Email your answer to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Please e-mail me the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on Oct. 13--at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on Oct. 14.

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