S. Craig Zahler is best known as an award-winning screenwriter and director. He’s the guy who wrote and directed Bone Tomahawk, Brawl and Cell Block 99 and Dragged Across Concrete. Zahler is also an accomplished cinematographer, and musician. But none of those things are what this post is about.
S. Craig Zahler is also a novelist. His book THE SLANTED GUTTER came to my attention through Stephen J. Golds’ review on Twitter. Gold said:
Just finished this crime novel by S. Craig Zahler and it may be one of the best-written noir stories of the last decade.
So noir it borders on absolute nightmare.
Don’t read anything about it. Just go into it blind. This book will lure you in and then pulverize you.
Here’s the synopsis on Amazon…
Take a roller coaster ride through the gutter in this gripping pull-no-punches thriller from S. Craig Zahler
He knows what you’ll do – including what you’ll sacrifice for protection.
Darren Tasking is an entrepreneur whose business is people, and when it comes to people he specializes in risk, pleasure, and fear.
He knows what will break you – before you even feel a second of pain.
Tasking has everything and everyone, in his orbit, under control. If there’s something he wants he will alter your life, elaborately and maliciously, until you yield to his wishes.
He knows what makes the Machos tick – and how to keep them in the dark.
The police tried to keep Tasking down with their macho modus operandi, sent him away long ago, but they couldn’t keep him incarcerated forever. Now he’s older, uncommonly careful, and keeps the machos oblivious to his enterprises. But when he meets a dancer named Erin Green at the Cherry Red strip club everything changes.
He knows the streets of Great Crown, Florida can only be dominated by the remorseless insights of a relentless slick like him.
The brothels and gambling parlors secreted behind iron doors keep the slick autonomous and successful, but Erin proves to be the variable that could put him on a collision course with unrepentant sadists, machos, and a trap created by the slick’s own extortionist machinations.
THE SLANTED GUTTER is a devastating character study painted with the darkest shades of noir, penned by a hand as unflinching as Tasking’s steely-eyed pursuit of his large dollar goal, as unforgiving on the reader as those who seek retribution against the slick for his nocturnal misdeeds.
Step into this gutter at your own risk.
THE SLANTED GUTTER has gone on my to-be-purchased list. Oh, and how about that cover!