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From Kenzie and Gennaro to The Louisiana Vampire/Werewolf Ass-Fest


Bullets and Boobs, Guns and Gams, Sin and Skin. Alliteration and Additional Alliteration. Assonance? Ass, anyway. Always ass. I can’t define Gutter material, but as Justice Potter Stewart said about pornography in 1964, “I know it when I see it. And it would be better with a car chase.”
  • Moonlight Mile by Dennis LeHane 
    This turned out to be a sequel to the awesomeness that was Gone Baby Gone. Who knew? It was okay. Unless you’re a fan of Kenzie and Gennaro (I am not, although I love me some Bubba) or a Lehane completist (which I definitely am) you can skip it. Although there are some broad hints this will be the last K-G novel, you never know. Jack Reacher got blown up in a cavern full of jet fuel at the end of 61 Hours and has already managed to put that a full novel behind him. Speaking of…
  • Second Son and The Affair by Lee Child 
    Both of these are Reacher Prequels (see what I did there?) and by definition feature a younger Jack Reacher ─ way back to age thirteen in Second Son. These are good choices if you want to put some Lee Child in the hands of someone woefully uninformed, but don’t want to back them all the way back to The Killing Floor. I don’t know if Second Son is available in hard copy; I got mine on Kindle. Speaking of…
  • Not Comin’ Home to You by Lawrence Block 
    This is new to me on Kindle (2010, but just barely). A mass market paperback in 1997 according to Amazon (I was working at Barnes & Noble, already a Blockhead, and don’t remember it at all, if that tells you anything about its distribution), and based on a treatment Lawrence Block wrote around 1970, if you believe the extensive endnotes on the Kindle edition. And why do that? ─ the man tells lies for both fun and profit. Get it, read it, love it, Starkweather, fictionalized, fascinating, and we all knew a girl like that in high school. My favorite Block since Everybody Dies, outside the Bernie books, which exist in their own separate place.
  • Raylan 
     Excuse me, Raylan. Tim Olyphant forever as a character I had envisioned more James Brolin. But it works! The book (2012) and the almighty series. What’s cool (as if you needed more cool) about reading Raylan is the different take on the characters as envisioned by the master, and the characters as sustained by mere mortal actors and screenwriters. Raylan is three short stories repackaged as a novel, just so you know. Don’t get too hepped. But… Boyd is there… (I see I haven’t mentioned the author yet. If you don’t know, you are in the wrong place.)
  • The Guard (2011 movie) 
    Caught it on Netflix, 'cause I missed it when it came out. It’s probably the Gutterest thing on this list, what with the hookers and the body count and the profanity, don’t you know. Stars Brendan Gleeson (Mad-Eye Moody!) and Don Cheadle, looking all cragged and bad-ass. Loved it. Maybe the ending isn’t fully set up, and the cop murder goes from being random to being a plot point, but who cares? And don’t be fooled by the marketing, which targets this as a comedy. It’s funny, but in a Guy Ritchie sort of way. It’s a crime story first.
  • True Blood (TV series) 
    HBO, always good for some Gutter, brings back True Blood, otherwise known as "The Louisiana Vampire/Werewolf Ass-Fest," on June 10th for a twelve episode run. Lots of beheadings and precious fairy vagina, I’m sure. After that, Boardwalk Empire swaggers in. Season three skips ahead a year, but that’s still well before the real life Enoch Johnson got carted off to prison, so plenty of wiggle room for Buscemi to wiggle it in. And what’s good Gutter without plenty of wiggling it in?
John Jasper Owens lives in the South, where he offers fiction, humor and opinion at low, low prices.