Review: Please Don't Shoot Anyone Tonight by Dave Newman

Chris Leek
Independent Reviewer

I came across Dave Newman's debut novel more by accident than design. It didn’t (and still doesn’t) have a whole lot of reviews online. But the book had been blurbed by both Donald Ray Pollock and Willy Vlautin, which for me sealed the deal.
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Danny and Matt are high school kids growing up in a small Pennsylvania town and as you might expect they spend their free time either getting drunk, stoned or both. Between them they have hatched a half-assed plan to rip of the paint store where Danny works, but have never had the stones to go through with it.

When Matt’s girlfriend, Susan announces that she’s pregnant, hitting the paint store seems like the only way to raise the money to solve her problem. Matt is not exactly a hardened criminal, but neither is he fatherhood material and the pressure is starting to get to him. Danny has resolved to do what it takes to help his friends, but he has no idea just how desperate Susan really is.  
Please Don't Shoot Anyone Tonight is a tense, gritty and often funny indictment of teenage troubles in the blue collar heartland, where Innocence is drowned in a bucket of alcohol and dreams get lost in the haze of pot smoke.

Dave Newman writes well, better than that he writes noir well; his characters have that wonderful knack of making a bad situation much worse. They all teeter precariously on the edge of an abyss, for some it’s a lifestyle choice and for others an overwhelming necessity.
When you get down to it Please Don't Shoot Anyone Tonight actually hits pretty hard and provides lasting testament to the fact that growing up is not all about girls, cars and beer.

Well, okay mostly it is, but there’s some other shit too.
Before I sign off I would like to humbly apologize to those of you who I rashly assured would receive a review this side of the holidays and didn’t get it. Rest assured that now I have my Internet porn addiction back under control, you good people will be the first to blaze the trail into 2013.  
Happy holidays y’all!