Monday, August 22, 2016

High Water Mark

Went to the movie shows twice this weekend after staying away from them all summer. Seriously, this was just the first time I'd been compelled to go since Shane Black's The Nice Guys in May. The year started off so strong, but man, this summer blew. Anyway, I saw David Mackenzie's Hell or High Water Thursday night, and I liked it. Quite a bit.

Maybe too much.


It went down so smooth, so easy, so clearly made to please me that it made me suspicious. I keep asking myself what I missed and my guess is - nothing. I think... I think I got it all.

Is that a complaint?

It's not, but it's left me with the uneasy feeling that perhaps it was just a (very) well-executed bank-robbing thriller with a solid cast and better (much better) than average aesthetic choices, and that I'll be forgetting it soon.

Like I said - I liked it. But I wanted to love it. And one crucial piece of my loving a movie typically has to do with its jagged edges, its extra-crunchy or surprisingly chewy bits that I'm left gnawing on or (maybe not even completely) digesting for a good while to come. Hell, I wouldn't say I loved it, but I am still working on David Ayer's Sabotage two years later - that thing was prickly and messy and a welcome surprise and I want to revisit it often to see how my feelings and thoughts change.

An apt comparison might be Scott Cooper's Out of the Furnace - another movie about blue collar brothers neck-deep in a pool of circumstantial and behaviorally-earned shit that I wanted to love, but only liked. The plot, the amazing cast and how beautifully everything was assembled on screen were all perfect for my sensibilities, but the film was pretty much forgotten as soon as I left the theater.

Hell or High Water is better than Out of the Funace, but I think both may have suffered some for the seriousness with which they're presented. In the end both are pretty stock thriller material, but are presented burdened by a leaden atmosphere in lieu of emotional weight - as if apologizing for the inherent excitement of the material (or worse, though I don't think this is really the case with either film, chastising the audience for looking for thrills in the atmosphere of violence).

The opening scene of the film is a perfect example - the heist is appropriately tense, expertly frustrating and thrilling and the getaway features terrific camera work with a propulsive energy set to kick this motherfucker off, but the film backpedals awfully fast into a somberness seemingly intent on killing your boner and insisting that what we're in for is not meant to be fun.

Which... c'mon, this is a piece of "Fuck the banks" porn, which I am whole-heartedly behind, and it is appropriately complicated by characters we can neither 100% support nor condemn, but that doesn't mean that we can't 100% enjoy the ride. Can a film be tragic and kick ass at the same time? I think Sam Peckinpah proved it so, and I wouldn't be surprised if Mackenzie or screenwriter Tyler Sheridan cited Peck as a major inspiration, but it seems to me that the real way to make a memorably complex experience is to balls-out the action and slip that sour flavor in beneath so that it's only experienced as an aftertaste that recontextualizes the whole thing.

I think that was probably the film maker's intentions and from the critical response I'd say they were mostly successful (again - I liked this movie) - the best example being the mountain top showdown - but if I were to take a stab at saying why it wasn't more successful for me my first guess would be the soundtrack.

Holy shit, what am I saying? First off, I fucking love Nick Cave and Warren Ellis's work - hell their score for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is one of the all time greats, but that is an entirely different type of picture - ethereal atmosphere that you marinate in rather than a ticking clock thriller. And the other cuts by artists like Gillian Welch, whom I enjoy, just seem out of place (by being too on the nose). Aside from a well-utilized Scott H. Biram drop, the film's best music cue is the trashy metal blasting from the obnoxious green car driven by the asshole at the gas station - that was perfect.

What could have worked better?

Here's where I'd advocate going the Michael Mann/Thief route where he nixed the original idea of authentic Chicago blues for juxtaposing the blue collar workaday thieves with possibly up its own ass electronic stylings of Tangerine Dream. Yeah, a fucking techno score or even shitty pop-country music probably would have complimented the movie better than the potentially self-congratulatory picks that reaffirm the audience's good taste rather than seem a believable soundtrack for the exploits of these ground into the dust motherfuckers (kinda like that argument about the kid in Stranger Things having an Evil Dead poster on his wall in 1983 middle-America).

Maybe I should stop picking nits and back off it though, because Hell or High Water is very good work from everyone involved - Ben Foster and Chris Pine have a believable brotherly dynamic, Foster not getting over the top and Pine never feeling the need to posture more macho than he ought. Jeff Bridges teeters toward self-parody, but lands a handful of high-quality moments that make his paycheck worth it and the supporting cast are the rising tide that elevates the whole affair - most especially Gil Birmingham, Katy Mixon, Kevin Rankin and Dale Dickey. This flick ain't setting the box office on fire and despite my bitching here I think that's a fucking shame because this is exactly the kind of smart with heart populist fare that we need to inoculate ourselves against the pandering pablum it feels we're drowning in.

Next up, Saturday I caught Jean-Francois Richet's adaptation of Peter Craig's novel of the same name, Blood Father, and in juxtaposition to Hell or High Water, this one achieves a weight beneath its pulpy surface through a transcendent lead performance going all Jimi Hendrix on top of an AC/DC-like dedication to delivering the gnarly genre goods (how's that for yanking it out my ass?).

Font and center is Mel Gibson cast knowingly as a bad guy who's less repentant than realistic about his situation and his actions and culpability in the wreck his life has become. When his runaway daughter contacts him out of the blue for some run-money, he wants to help and may be angry with her, but is the last person to judge for stupid mistakes.

Turns out she's on the run from some very bad people and has a drug dependency to boot. It's another he's no good, but he's good at bad not quite redemption movie full of clearly going for thrills action and a not-quite metatextual penance performance from its star (the opening lines of the movie are Gibson staring at the camera and confessing he's a bad guy who pissed away his life on alcohol and hurt people - the camera pulling back to reveal he's at an AA meeting).

The difference between the two films for me is that Blood Father embraces its pulpiness and becomes something (slightly) more while Hell or High Water strives for more and (sometimes) succeeds. I have a feeling I'll be returning more often to Blood Father - I'll be looking at the crazy-eyed guy playing a crazy-eyed guy and thinking damn if this is his audition for the titular role in an adaptation of Benjamin Whitmer's Pike - it's fucking his.

Blood Father too is bolstered by supporting turns from Michael Parks, William H. Macy and again Dale Dickey.

Both films are worth your time and struggling to find an audience. Go forth.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Four Reasons I am Broke

Brannew Boo & Junior title Rough Trade is in the world legit now, and I, for one, would suggest you buy that thing. Fuckin Todd Robinson, man. I enjoyed the hell out of B&J #1 The Hard Bounce, but even more in retrospect - meaning, I mentally revisit it more than most books - especially after hearing him read from it at N@B-NYC... "morbidly rubenesque" indeed. Here's hoping that with the burden of editing and publishing Thuglit no longer grinding on him we get a little more original output from the dude.

Y'know what else I'm fuckin stoked for? Drain Land by Iain Ryan. His first novel Four Days was like streamlined, pre-addreall and alliteration Ellroy - nasty world, smooth prose, epic in scope, but intimate in devastation. And if you too dug it, he's also got a Kindle-only sequel novella Two Days that I'ma pick up.

Another dude who lay down the crime-zine editing gig to concentrate on his own work is Bryon Quertermous. His Demolition magazine was one of my favorite destinations for reading the hardest new crime fiction once upon a time, now he's got time to write books. Whole books. Good news too, 'cause his latest, Riot Load is the novel treatment of my favorite of his short stories (don't remember if it was in Demolition or Thuglit or Plots With Guns or Beat to a Pulp) about a bank heist gone sticky. A um, sperm bank heist.

Another title I'm pinching pennies for is the debut novel of Chris Orlet, In the Pines (New Pulp Press). This is one I've had in my peripheral for about a year and now it's in the world and I'm gonna pounce. Expect for Chris to cut his teeth reading at N@B sometime soon.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Killer on the Road

Been some excellent poolside reading this summer with a host of unlikely summer feel-gooders like Stephen Graham Jones' Mongrels and Rusty Barnes' Ridgerunner, to the endless bummers that were Ray Banks' Angels of the North and Grant Jerkins' The Abnormal Man. A few big no-brainers yet to get to like Megan Abbott's You Will Know Me, Duane Swierczynski's Revolver and Donald Ray Pollock's The Heavenly Table.

How excited am I for new Pollock? A little twitchy, truth be told. His short story collection Knockemstiff came out around the same time I was starting this here blog and he was even one of the first authors who agreed to be interviewed here - an honor for me. Since then his first novel, The Devil All the Time, burnt the hair off my palms and put whatever he did next in a permanent spot at the top of my TBR list.

Haven't got there yet, but in anticipation I figured I'd post this older piece originally published on another site - my reaction to the mid-year release of The Devil All the Time....

Before I begin, I’d like to just take a moment and apologize to the authors of all the good and wonderful books coming out this summer and later in the year as well as to those preceding this post that really are so very worth your time, because I’m afraid that we’ve now arrived at the book that I’m going to be hitting everyone over the head with for the foreseeable future. I just can’t see anything coming to eclipse Donald Ray Pollock’s The Devil All the Time – without a doubt the finest book I’ve read this year.

It’s also the scariest and most bizarre, funniest and most harrowing, singe-off-your-body-hair-and-then-make-it-grow-back, clear-up-your-glaucoma-before-poking-out-your-eyes, raise-the-dead-and-smite-them-again horrorscape of big-A Americana I’ve seen in ages. Not for the timid or faint, but if ever there were a reason to be bold, if ever a pay-off for a stout heart and robust sense of adventure in reading this, brothers and sisters, has got to be it.

The book follows a host of characters rooted in southern Ohio from the end of WWII through the 1960s and it’s as rich and memorable a cast as you’re going to find anywhere. Even as the decades pile up and the narrative strains remain largely independent, it is testament to the merit of each that none clamor louder than the others for our attention. There is not a single limp thread trailing through this tapestry of crime, from the revival preacher and his wheel-chair-bound, guitar-playing sidekick to the road-trip-taking husband and wife spree-murdering team to the devout, but na├»ve Lenora whose devotion to a flim-flam pastor will break your heart.

The killers that populate The Devil All the Time come in stripes like psychotic or hired, and right on through categories like corrupt, deluded, righteous-revenging, exultant and guilt-ridden, and though the spectacle is bloody, pitiless and terrifying, the read is always engaging and humane in its portraiture of these lost and wandering souls, and it's no exaggeration to suggest that even the minor characters here deserve their very own book.

With his debut short story collection, Knockemstiff, Pollock, (a high school drop-out who didn’t begin writing seriously till he was nearly fifty and now holds an MFA from Ohio State University) seemed to emerge fully formed as a gravelly veteran, matured, battle-conditioned and ready to slay the hordes of wincing, tepid wordsmiths too pleased with their own cleverness and ever threatening to wrest the legacy of American letters from the calloused, pioneer hands and spirit that begat them. His fiction is harsh – physically and psychologically - but his tone is warm, even compassionate, and never to the right or the left of honest. Without a hint of apology or irony it demands to have its measure taken and then it holds its own. Which is not to say he owes no one. Pollock’s lineage is chock-full of recognizable strains, from Larry Brown to Flannery O’Connor, but his voice is distinctly his own and I predict the near-future universality of the term ‘DR. Pollockian’ that will hang on the emergent legion of bare-knuckled writers poised now on the brink of discovering their greatest inspiration.

Whatever foul, hairy-warted terrors stalked young Donald’s dreams have shaped a kaleidoscopic vision of life and death running along Ohio’s rugged hollers and highways that grown-up Donald has brought to the page in this towering work of opulent, gothic, heartland noir. Pick it up now.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Ewell Gnomee

Saturday July 30th kids, come on out to Meshuggah in University City for a St. Louis Noir release party N@B throwdown. One of our goup exercises in alienation will commence in honor of the book that bears our brand at 7pm with editor, host and emcee Scott Phillips plus contributors to the anthology reading from it - N@B alumn: Laura Benedict and S. L. Coney, 'bout damn timers John Lutz, LaVelle Wilkins-Chinn and Calvin Wilson. Plus me. I'll be in there somewhere and read from my story Have You Seen Me? You will know me by my exceedingly awkward manner.

Wednesday the 27th you will know me by my exceedingly starstruck eyes at the St. Louis County Library HQ where I'll be in attendance at Megan Abbott's tour stop for You Will Know Me, which is, shit, it's getting all the attentions from the fancy people. 'Bout damn time on that count too.

And on Wednesday, August 3rd The Hardboiled Wonderland Film Series continues at the Maplewood Library at 7pm with Neil Jordan's 1986 Mona Lisa starring Bob Hoskins, Cathy Tyson and Michael Caine. If you're tired of the brutal summer heat find solace and menace indoors with me. You will know me by my pale, face and dazed expression. Hey, free movie - and good fucking luck renting this one. If you've never seen it drop on by.

I'll be at another event in support of St. Louis Noir at the St. Louis County Library HQ on Tuesday, August 18. No idea what I'll read there as it will surely be a more cultured crowd than the N@B event. You will know me by my general unkempt uncouthitude.

Pretty much how you'll know me at Bouchercon in New Orleans come September too. That and my classy roommates Grant Jerkins and Jeremy Stabile - who've got some plans for Grant's suuuuper nasty and just, holy shit where does this guy get the balls to do that? book Abnormal Man. Seriously, I read that thing at the pool a couple weeks back and they had to clear everybody out and scrub the place down afterward. It is hideous and probably the best thing he's yet produced. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Graphic Violence

Recently read The Last of the Independents by Matt Fraction and Kieron Dwyer - very much in debt to Richard Stark's Parker and Don Siegel's Charley Varrick - and it scratched my itch for straight-up crime comics - and one-offs at that - that flares up now and again when I realize there'll be no more Scalped, who knows about Criminal and Stumptown and fuck it all, so long Darwyn Cooke's Parker books... I heard a rumor that Tom Hardy's got his hands in a 100 Bullets television adaptation, but who knows how long how when and how good that could be.

And shit, that Vertigo Crime series was pretty hit or miss, but if you got a stinker at least you could, briefly, count on more content on the way soon.

Well, somebody heard me crying and his name might be Charles Ardai. The publisher of Hard Case Crime has announced the Hard Case Crime Comics and the announced talent raises and then knits my eyebrows together.

Especially Peepland from Christa Faust, Gary Phillips and Andrea Camerini. Before George Pelecanos and David Simon drop The Deuce next year, this visit to the seedy seventies/eighties NYC underground of porn and punk ought to fucking rock. Digging everything about this combination of elements. Side note - you've already got your hands on Ed Kurtz's The Forty-Two, right? Just checking.

What else? How 'bout a prohibition-era gangland bit from motherfucking Walter Hill? Last time I watched Last Man Standing it finally clicked for me. Dunno why it took so long and as many visits to really dig that picture - it always looked amazing and had a terrific performance from Christopher Walken - but I finally saw it belonging to the same reality as The Warriors and Streets of Fire. Y'know, comic book reality. Made a big difference. So hey, color me down for Triggerman.

Also headed down the pike at Hard Case Crime Comics is a version of Max Allan Collins's Quarry. Will it follow the plot of the books or the television show or just be new stories featuring the character? Dunno, but considering the obsessive commitment he demonstrated to bending all things Road to Perdition to continuity, I suspect we're in for something similar. Curious, for sure. I've always liked the character and the possibilities of material based on him. Really looking forward to the Quarry show on Cinemax this fall too.

So for now I've got Brubaker and Ellis's The Fade Out and Duane Swierczynski's The Black Hood to keep up with. If you know something straight-up crime I should be keeping up with I'd appreciate a tip.

This little nod to the late St. Louisan Helen Simpson appeared in The Black Hood #11. She was the proprietor of Big Sleep Books here in town and nearly everybody who ever met her has a story ranging from the very pleasant to the very blunt (after I'd given her a copy of my first book to see if she'd be interested in carrying it at the store I checked in a couple weeks later and her entire review was "Oh, thumbs down" - which I ought to use as a blurb some time). Anthony Neil Smith has a better/worse story than mine.

If you remember where Big Sleep Books was located on Euclid ave. in the Central West End you can still get crime books in the same spot. Helen's business partner Ed King has re-opened the space as Pagan Wine Bar & Books. Go see Ed. I like Ed.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Nudge, Nudge, Wink, Wink

Watched Arthur Penn's Night Moves again the other, uh, night. It'd been a while since I'd first enjoyed it and wanted another go. I mentioned my intent to revisit it on social media and N@B-godfather, Peter Rozovsky (good ol' Fuck Peter Rozovsky himself) spake up to say it was not a film he enjoyed. He referenced a piece on his Detectives Beyond Borders blog about his experience watching it and it appears his chief complaint is one of the meta-text or the heavy-handedness of the film's nods (heavy-headedness?) to its predecessors and lineage - particularly when Gene Hackman's detective is interviewed by a potential new client and she asks him, on behalf of the audience, if his model of detective is anything like (Dashiell Hammett's) Sam Spade.

Of course the post also had the film's supporters speaking up - notably Scott Adlerberg who knows a thing or two about crime flicks and Andrew Nette who covered Night Moves on his Pulp Curry blog (and in honor of the late Michael Cimino had this recent re-visit of Year of the Dragon - which Nette points out owes a conscious debt to Roman Polanski's Chinatown).

But being a fan both of crime fiction and film of the mid and late twentieth century I've found particularly the private detective subgenre to be rife with metatextual nods to influences and ancestry, especially at times of cultural shifts and pivots.

Before Night Moves, Penn's Bonnie & Clyde had given the gangster picture the re-contexualization that New-Hollywood was giving to all popular genres (Penn's Little Big Man and Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch were doing it to the western, Milos Foreman's Hair was almost a decade later, but the stage version along with Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar were hardly The Greatest Generation's musicals), and Night Moves' nods to fare like The Maltese Falcon may be on the nose, but I'd say no more so than another flick I dig - Jack Smight's 1966 Harper (an adaptation of Ross MacDonald's The Moving Target) which places itself, rather audaciously, in the lineage of Raymond Chandler's/John Huston's The Big Sleep by going so far as to recreate the opening scene for a new time with the same actress (Lauren Bacall).

Or hell, one of my personal favorite detective novels - James Crumley's The Last Good Kiss is all loving-homage as well as re-purposing of the plot of Chandler's The Long Goodbye. Or what about the relationship between Vicki Hendricks' Miami Purity and James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice - is foreknowledge of the former necessary for appreciating the offspring?

No, but man, they make sweet music together.

New times, new politics, same old shit.

In fact I'd say that Mike Hodges' 1971 Get Carter (a film I know Rozovsky digs - and hey, both Detectives Beyond Borders and Pulp Curry have some swell pieces on Jack's Return Home author Ted Lewis and his final novel - the face-melting GBH - go check em out) begins the schtick that Hodges and Michael Caine continued in their next (and very-meta) film Pulp (1972) in which Caine plays a pulp novelist drawn into actual events that mirror the plots of some of his hacky creations. That credit sequence of Carter on the train reading Farewell My Lovely winks pretty hard without becoming parody and the film itself is more or less a detective picture in which the detective is anything but noble and all the elements of a typical revenge thriller are left out a beat too long - to spoil, to twist, to sour, to hurt.

I also re-watched Get Carter this week and was struck this time by how much it reminded me of Robert Altman's same period exercise in repurposing the detective genre, the ever-divisive The Long Goodbye - particularly sequences like the introduction of Cyril and Glenda (John Osborne and Geraldine Moffat) - the way the separate conversations overlap without one receiving preferential treatment in the sound mix creating an uneasy tension and a dual-track suspense sequence with multiple layers of relational dynamics.

Just under twenty years ago New Hollywood was getting its own re-contexualization in the age of remakes. John Boorman's 1967 adaptation of Richard Stark's (Donald Westlake's) The Hunter, Point Blank became Brian Helgeland's Mel Gibson pic Payback - which itself was re-released years later (in the far-superior form Payback: Straight Up) and Stephen Kay's Sylvester Stallone vehicle (with a cameo from Caine) Get Carter.

Needless to say Stallone's Carter has some code to him, some moral center the audience can sit inside comfortably and thus enjoy the good old-fashioned ass-kicking action.

What that says about the film makers' artistic/commercial intent or the audience's perceived appetite vs. the actual reception/rejection it received is worth thinking on. Similarly, you could almost compare Payback and Payback: Straight Up's film makers'/audience's intent and reception with equal intrigue.

What is the "new" position? What tropes are they playing with? Are they subverting anything? Are they restoring the old or mere grossly cynical exercises in capitalism? In this age of re-appropriation and re-making, re-directing - the age of both J.J. Abrams and Noah Hawley - I'd argue that the mash-up, the remake, repurposing of original intellectual properties may be the representative art-form of the age, and as such makes up some of the best and worst creative works the period will be remembered for and juxtaposed against in the future.

So yeah, it's nothing new. It's more or less its own trope by now.

High profile projects like Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice David Fincher/Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, or Quentin Tarantino's, Shane Black's and the Coen Brothers' entire oeuvres rely heavily on it and smaller films like Jeremy Saulnier's Blue Ruin, Aaron Katz's Cold Weather and Noah Buschel's The Missing Person have recently used our familiarity and basic literacy with the genre's tropes and understanding of the way it ought to go to pull off some nice tricks - subverting expectations without (entirely) parodying their origin - often directly stating them.

Of course how it succeeds is entirely personal. Poor old Peter Rozovsky is hyper-literate in the genre and one man's subtle innuendo, in-joke or subliminal suggestion is another man's bullhorn announcement. I get that. You wanna good laugh about it all? @CrimeFicTrope on Twitter is always good for a chuckle.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Narcocorrido: Narrative Music by Gordon Chaplin

The narcocorrido, the murder ballad and the average gangster rap joint are what I've expected to make up the majority of the Narrative Music series since its inception, and I'm pleased to have today's piece represent the corrido as apparently it's the first piece I've received. I know I wrote one way back for another site that no longer exists, but damn... kind of embarrassing to find nothing else here on the blog.

Anyhow, today's contribution is from Gordon Chaplin, most recently the author of Paraiso. If you dig what you read here please check out his work and visit his website.

by Gordon Chaplin

Not too long ago, a stripped out Boeing 727 full to the gunwales with uncut cocaine landed at a popular transshipment point near the little town of Todos Santos in southern Baja California, where I happened to be living at the time and where my new novel Paraiso is set. It was a dry lake bed in the desert that narcos had been flying small aircraft into for years, but this time they got ambitious. Too ambitious. The big 727 landed without mishap but was too heavy for the lakebed and soon  mired down and became trapped. After unloading the cocaine, the smugglers called their allies in the federal police force who dispatched heavy earthmoving equipment to the scene. The plane was half-buried out of sight when someone tipped off the local press and the incident became legend. I even used it in Paraiso.

It didn’t take long for a norteno band called Grupo Laberinto to write a narcocorrido about this and other smuggling incidents involving Boeing 727s, which turn out to be the workhorse of choice for Mexican narcos. With  three powerful  engines in the tail,  they can operate on much shorter runways than normal jets and carry a bigger payload. Grupo Labarinto’s narcocorrido is roguishly titled Caballos del Pantanal: Horses of the Marshlands. It assumes its listeners already know the smuggling connection and contents itself with sly  double entendres. In the pantanal around Tepic there are many good horses. They are covered and quite famous for where they come from,  smirks the first verse.

The corrido is the traditional  ballad of northern Mexico. An accordion-based polka rhythm sets the tone and the form goes back to the Mexican revolution of 1910, celebrating  heroes like Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata. Smugglers began to be celebrated in these ballads as early as 1930.

The new narcocorrido genre has a hip-hop outlaw appeal and is spreading like wildfire through Central America, along the US border, and in US cities with large Latin populations, like Los Angeles. A song called El Cabron (the Badass)  features the following uncompromising lyrics: Ever since I was a boy I had the fame of a badass, already hitting the parrot (cocaine) and blowing dope with all my heart. It’s because in my beloved Mexico everyone is a badass.

Authorities have tried unsuccessfully to ban narcocorridos, including a voluntary radio blackout in Baja California to prevent “people who break the laws of our country being made into heroes and examples.” The death toll among actual performers is also high, as the narcos themselves react homicidally to being singled out by name. Many of the ballads are incriminatingly true to fact. Between 2006 and 2008 alone over a dozen prominent balladeers were murdered, in some cases by torture and disfigurement.

But this only seems to make the genre more popular…and more violent. A recent offshoot of the form, known as movimiento alterado (altered movement, as in someone soaring on cocaine) features the following famous verse:

With an AK-47 and a bazooka on our heads
Cutting off all heads that cross our path
We’re bloodthirsty and crazy—We love to kill
Bullets fired and extortions carried out, just like the best of us
Always in a convoy of armored cars, wearing bullet-proof vests and ready to kill people.  

photo by George Bouret
Gordon Chaplin is the author of the novel Joyride and several works of nonfiction, including Dark Wind: A Survivor’s Tale of Love and Loss and Full Fathom Five: Ocean Warming and a Father’s Legacy. A former journalist for Newsweek, the Baltimore Sun, and the Washington Post, he has worked on sea conservation with the group Niparaja and since 2003 has been a research associate at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.  His latest novel, Paraiso, is now available. He lives with his wife and daughter in New York City and Hebron, New York.
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