UNLOADED Reviewed

 

 

Unloaded book

 

UNLOADED

Various

2016

Down & Out Books

Sometimes, a person can feel pretty powerless. We’ve all been there. Those times when the news just seems to be a never-ending barrage of senseless death and destruction. Most folks sigh, and get on with their day. Check in on the interwebs from their phone, go shopping… whatever.

Writer/editor Eric Beetner chose differently. When the seemingly endless news reports of gun violence became too much to bear (And really, shouldn’t one case of violence be too much to bear?). Beetner chose to fight back with the chosen weapon of the writer: his words and stories. And he called in his immensely talented friends. The result? UNLOADED. This anthology is made up of crime writers writing without guns. In this superlative collection, 25 of today’s top writers tell their tales of questionable people making terrible decisions. From Rob Hart’s touching tale of the death of a bakery bouncer (just go with it-it’s genius), to Hilary Davidson’s chill-inducing story of Hollywood depravity, UNLOADED has it all.

Kent Gowran’s story THE HAMMER PARTY in particular stands out. Gowran plays with the trope of a gang of bad men digging for the spoils of a past robbery. The take just happens to be buried deep in the frozen Earth. In the trunk of an old Maverick. Writing an effective short story is always a tricky endeavor. How to tell an effective story with the utmost economy of words? THE HAMMER PARTY not only succeeds there, but it makes the reader hungry to learn the rest of the story. Here’s hoping Gowran gets around to telling that story soon.

These stories alone would be cause to make fans of the genre head straight to their bookseller of choice. But in this case, there’s a bonus:  Beetner and his gang of like-minded hooligans are donating proceeds from sales of UNLOADED to States United to Prevent Gun Violence. So you get these tales of bloody greed, and base desires, and life destroying violence. And States United to Prevent Gun Violence gets the funding they need to keep gun violence off the streets and on the page, where it belongs.

How’s that for putting your money where your mouth is?

Help fight the good fight. Beetner and Company are fighting with their words and stories. All you have to do, is read them.

 

Dan Malmon

 

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