RUN FOR THE MONEY by Eric Beetner (Blasted Heath)
Arrested after pulling off the score of a lifetime, and stashing the $600k swag in a storage facility, odd-couple bank robbers Slick (a butt-ugly hothead with a scar on his face that changes colour like a temper-gauge) and Bo (a mellow ex-junkie with surfer-boy looks, the yang to Slick’s yin) are at each other’s throats and on their way to jail. With Bo having snitched on Slick, the ex-partners in crime seem destined for a prison yard showdown… Until Hurricane Esmeralda wrecks their prison transport, and the prisoners turn fugitive. Now it’s just a question of who gets his mitts on the moolah first.
The only thing stopping them? (Apart from each other.)
Just about every fucking obstacle and run of shit-luck imaginable.
A crooked cop who can’t keep it in his pants; drug dealers, bangers, and wannabe playas; vengeful ghosts from their past; a crotchety old landlady and her hulking, horny, mongoloid son. Not to mention Slick’s squeeze, Emma: A gal with bad teeth, great tits, and an eye for bad boys, who sees a chance for herself to steal the money and split.
I’ve been on a Beetner kick lately – his RUMRUNNERS and NINE TOES IN THE GRAVE are both highly recommended – RUN FOR THE MONEY may well be my favourite so far. Reading like Elmore Leonard riffing on “48 Hours,” with shades of Scorsese’s “After Hours,” this blackly comic neo-noir is a blast. Opening in the eye of a hurricane, the storm never lets up, all the way through to a richly ironic “Reservoir Dogs”-style climax. Beetner keeps his foot on the go-pedal throughout, without losing anything in the way of characterization; with deft strokes, he humanizes the kinda lowlifes most ordinary folks wouldn’t piss on if they were on fire. His prose style is cinematic – what a fun movie this would make – the gutter-trash tone leavened by snappy dialogue and Beetner’s trademark black humour. Plus there’s plenty enough violence to satisfy the gorehounds, in particular a nasty torture scene involving a red-hot soldering iron…
Giving away too much of the plot would spoil the fun. But if you like your crime fiction down n’ dirty, peopled with a rogue’s gallery of scumbags and misfits, then run – do not walk – to your nearest copy of RUN FOR THE MONEY. (Adam Howe)