Review: HUSTLE, by Tom Pitts

My taste in books runs towards the dark side. The darker the better and if you can sprinkle in some realism, even better. Well, Tom Pitts has created a book that takes you further into the dark side than you have ever been taken before and probably further than you ever wanted to be taken. The re-release of Pitts’ masterpiece, Hustle, satisfied my love for books that are dark and bitter, but also ones that contain human emotions and heartbreak. A balancing point of these two aspects is hard for even the best authors to find, but Pitts proves his star is ready to be elevated into a category with the top authors of this noir generation with this book that I could not put down.

Pitts brings you into the seedy side of male prostitution, drug addiction, and blackmail. Big Rich and Donny are two down on their luck prostitutes who may have dreams of getting out of their current life, but they are too tied up in the never ending cycle of needing to get a fix before they go into withdrawal to do much towards finding a life off the seedy streets they currently use to peddle themselves to the highest bidder. Since their need for a fix comes on quicker and quicker, they need to hustle johns at a quicker pace. With no means to break this cycle, Big Rich finally hits on a scheme to videotape a liaison between them and Gabriel Thaxton, a mega-rich, older man who is a popular defense attorney and then blackmail their way onto Easy Street. But his get-rich-quick scheme doesn’t factor in everything that Pitts throws his way. In typical noir fashion, they find themselves sucked deeper into despair with every step they try to take to find happiness.

This book sings a beautiful song. It is gritty, raw, unflinching, and realistic, which is what elevates this book into the must read category. Most people would rather turn a blind eye to people like Big Rich and Donny, but the truth is they’re out there. Pitts takes a situation—drug addiction—that is facing countless communities and families today and puts a face and name to it. He forces you into not looking away and not being able to shove it into the back of your mind. This book sucks you into its gravitational pull and leaves you gasping for breath. This is an uncompromising look at addiction, self-loathing, and lives that have spiraled out of control. You will want to shower after reading this one.

Highly, Highly Recommended.

Reviewed by Derrick Horodyski