Down and Out Books has come out with some great books as of late and they just pushed the bar even higher with the release of Angel Luis Colon’s Meat City on Fire (And Other Assorted Debacles). It was with great anticipation that I tore into this and I can honestly report Colon did not just produce a collection of short stories. Instead, he crafted a short story collection that I will compare all future collections to and they may all come out lacking. There is not a single story in this book which I would label as mere filler. Each story is well-crafted, engaging, and filled with believable, dirty, foul, bad characters with bad intentions. This is a work of literary genius.
A few stories in this collection were reprints from collections originally published by Thuglit, All Due Respect, Thrillers, Killers, ‘n’ Chillers, and other great publications. Overall, there are 16 stories here and each are original and unique, but all share the same common thread of being written by a pro in the prime of his writing career.
While all the stories are great, I especially loved Shotgun Wedding (Bonnie & Clyde with a methamphetamine kick), Saltimbocca (Revenge is best served cold), 43% Burnt (Revenge can be served at any temperature), Meat City on Fire (always go back for the money), and Jenny (never assume she’ll say yes). To say which one was my favorite is impossible, but these were all highlights for me.
I love the way Colon drops you into each story, but you feel like you grew up there. Things seem familiar and comfortable from the get go. His writing is easy and carefree, yet jagged as a piece of glass about to cut you. His reputation as a writer to watch is well-deserved and this release will only increase his stock.