Someone go get Moses, we need to send his bearded ass back up the mountain to carve this in stone. The Hard Bounce by Todd Robinson is the Thrilla in Manila of hardboiled fiction.
“I’m going to kill you, then fuck you, you cocksuckers!” I’m not sure that was what Junior meant to convey, but I went with the sentiment. “That’s right,” I called out. “He’s not gay; he just likes to fuck dead things.”
If Tom Wells ‘8mm’ met the McManus brothers ‘Boondock Saints’ for a picnic, during which, they slammed down a couple shots of Jack with a brass-knuckle sandwich…you’d get Robinson’s take on vigilante justice best served by Boo Malone and Junior…the heavy-handed duo in The Hard Bounce.
I haven’t read a Boston crime novel this good since The Friends of Eddie Coyle, and that book was 182 pages about snitching. ‘Snitches get stitches.’ Enough said.
Boo and Junior, a product of St. Gabriel’s Home for Boys, work nights as bouncers at a Boston bar called The Cellar- a dive bar with a live music scene and life tenders.
One night, they are hired to find Cassandra, the daughter of the District Attorney. Why? Because they have certain life skills and know how to keep it on the ‘DL’ and out of the media.
Cassie, who has run away to do her teenage socialite slum around thing connects with a man named Snake, so named for his Pringles Can phallus and hand tattoo. Eventually she becomes the victim of underage porn and snuff films.
Boo, driven by the thought of his long lost sister, will stop at nothing to find her, even pushing his surrogate brother, Junior, away. Fred Flintstone face smash here.
Without an actual plan, the duo take the streets to rattle some skulls, find the girl, beat the shit out of the creep and anyone he associates with, and get a nice payday from the DA. Grab you weapon of choice and get ready. Bang.
Robinson’s dialogue is unparalleled to any gritty, mans-man free verse I’ve read. Not only do you want to like these guys, you root for them. The minutiae of guttural jargon, most times overlooked in true hardnosed characters, is transmitted fluently by Robinson; he depicts such a buddy-film compilation of Boo and Junior that anyone with a pulse would laugh, punch the book, or get emotional. I don’t mean ‘cry’ you fucking babies.
Since Robinson has already decided on having a beer with John MacDonald’s fictional character, Travis Mcgee…I’m taking Boo and Junior out for Italian meatball grinders.
P.S. If you don’t know who Todd Robinson is, he is the creator and Chief Editor of the multi-award winning crime fiction magazine THUGLIT. What is that? Ask him, but buy his book first. If not, go home, sandpaper your dick, and stick it between two salt-crusted sponges inside a PVC pipe because that is your life without knowing.