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Review: Getting Ugly by Mike McCrary

Chris Leek
Independent Reviewer

One of the Gutter’s repeat offenders, Mike McCrary is up this week. First, check out his stories here on the site and then slam load your nickel-plated nine, because things are about to get ugly.
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Big Ugly is a ghost; more myth than man. His violent and audacious crimes have put him to the top of more than one most wanted list. Big Ugly doesn’t discriminate, he is just as happy stealing from drug cartels and mob families as he is from banks.  
Leon is a rising star in the FBI. Special Agent-in-charge Cooper thinks he might just be the man for the Job. Cooper doesn’t expect the kid will live through it, but that’s not important. Getting Big Ugly is the only thing that really matters. It turns out that Cooper was right, well partly right. It takes Leon two years, but he finds his man and he even survives the encounter, albeit with some deep mental scarring. 
Roll on a few years and like Big Foot, Big Ugly is sighted again. This time the underworld puts together a wet team to take him down for good. Leon is still smarting from his previous humiliation at the hands of Grande Ugly and goes undercover to join this homicidal freak show of killers and psychopaths.  
The first part of the story is really just a set up for the main event, which turns out to be the most violent, blood soaked and bizarre game of hide and seek you are ever likely to find on a printed page. The action from here on is relentless as the nation’s finest contract killers line up to do battle with that ultimate bad-ass, Big Ugly. What’s more, it all takes place in the kind of mansion that makes Hugh Heffner’s place look like a shotgun shack.
Mike McCrary has come up with some great characters and some even better ways of killing them. His sense of humor shines through the narrative and provides some genuinely funny moments. This kind of humor may not appeal to all tastes, but it's defiantly on my level. I'm not entirely sure if that's a good thing or not.
Getting Ugly is an uncomplicated story. If you’re looking for something deep and meaningful with seven layers of metaphor you’ll be sorely disappointed. But if you want foot-to-the-floor entertainment with a high body count and some fine dick jokes, this is the book you need.