Grudge Punk by John McNee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
There are a million stories in The Grudge and John McNee commits ten of them to paper in Grudge Punk.
Not long ago, Arthur Graham, knowing my love of free stuff, detective fiction, and Bizarro fiction, tipped me off that this was free on Amazon. Hard to pass up free.
Grudgehaven is a city of automatons, acid rain, and deception. In Grudge Punk, John McNee takes ten fairly standard setups for noir stories and places them in his bizarre city. A detective is hired to find the only flesh and blood woman in the Grudge. A crime lord hires a woman to be his biographer. A mayoral candidate has a fondness for killing hookers. Two lovers conspire to murder the female of the pair's husband. Now imagine the detective being made of granite and you'll have an idea of what Grudge Punk is about.
The weirdness level is extremely high in Grudge Punk but all of it is fairly logical and doesn't stray into the realm of absurdity or being weird for the sake of being weird. The world has its own internal logical and all the short stories in this collection are linked and build upon one another until the final tale.
By far, my favorite part of the mythology McNee has established is the ongoing war between Grudgehaven's two crime lords, the King of Eyes and the King of Broken Glass. I'd read a whole novel detailing the decades-long conflict.
It's hard to review a book of short stories without giving too much away. Suffice to say, if you like weird detective fiction, you won't want to miss this.
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