The Fine Art of Killing Your Darlings

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“All writing is a campaign against cliché. Not just clichés of the pen but clichés of the mind and clichés of the heart.”

– Martin Amis, “The War Against Cliché”

Some things take a few minutes to learn, but a lifetime to master. Games like chess, for instance, or knocking off a bank and getting away with it. Flash fiction also falls into this category: sure, a lot of people can type out 500-700 words, but stitching (and cutting) that mass of verbiage into an effective story takes a lot of skill and practice.

The great thing about a Website like Shotgun Honey is how it gives the crime-fiction writers of the world a no-bullshit platform for their best short work. Just a handful of venues these days seem to offer that kind of opportunity: Out of the Gutter is also going strong, along with The Molotov Cocktail and a handful of others. Every week, these sites offer a collection of short hits, quick enough to get you through your next bus-ride or waiting room sojourn. I always like a bit of literary murder and mayhem right before the dentist drills my teeth; it really puts my minor pain in proper perspective.

And every week, the editors behind those sites need to weed through a ton of stories in order to find the roses. What differentiates the stories that make it? They tend to push back hard against the clichés of the genre, offering a new and startling take on old, dusty tropes.

Fortunately, a crime cliché is easy to pick out of the lineup. Italian mobsters who speak in exaggerated New Jersey dialect? It was old long before Francis Ford Coppola shot the first frame of the Godfather trilogy. Serial killers with cute nicknames who work as cops by day? Snore. Femme fatales who plug their loving men in the back and walk away with the cash? You’ve seen it too many times to count.

A twist on a tired trope, on the other hand, is pure gold, especially if it comes with an unexpected ending. For example, take a look at “Getting the Word Back,” a story by fellow Shotgun Honey editor Angel Luis Colón. What starts as a standard-issue liquor-store robbery quickly evolves into something far weirder—and, in the end, about twice as vicious as you were expecting.

With my own flash fiction, I’ve tried to subvert clichés whenever possible. Take my story “Special Delivery”: while a lot of hardboiled tales focus on people trying to bust out of prison, I wanted to write something in which an anti-hero had to break in. I took a fair bit of inspiration from last summer’s infamous breakout at Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York, in which a pair of prisoners figured out a way past the prison walls via underground tunnels,Shawshank Redemption-style.

When it came time to collect the stories for my new noir-fiction collection, Somebody’s Trying to Kill Me, I realized that, in many ways, the flash fiction had been harder to write than some of the longer pieces. With a “full sized” short story or novella, you have the space to build an entire world; with flash fiction, you must telegraph a lot of information in as few words as possible. (The best flash is also self-contained: contrary to what some writers think, snipping a fragment from a longer narrative and presenting it unedited as a short-short story is often an ineffective technique if you want to be published.)

In the end, I alternated the collection’s longer pieces with flash fiction, creating a “long-short-long” rhythm that hopefully keeps readers engaged all the way through. Check out Somebody’s Trying to Kill Me and let me know if you think it works.

And in the meantime, if you’re writing flash fiction, remember to kill your darlings as ruthlessly as possible. Your red editing pen (literal or metaphoric) makes for a fine murder tool.


Stand aside, Kayfabe. Here Comes Wrestletown.

Temp CoverI’m baaaaack.

Thanks to head honcho and good friend Ron Phillips for having me. It’s been too long. I’m even getting the itch to submit soon, if you can believe it…

But onto the topic at hand – looking back over the years of chatting with Ron on g-chat, hanging out at cons, etc. – one thing that we really connected on (besides crime fiction and Shotgun Honey, of course) was comics. Ron did some work in comics back in the day and it was a lot of fun to see him reminisce while I ground away on my dreams of grandeur.

Fast forward a bit and while working on some comic projects, I wrote KAYFABE, a crime novel about a retired pro-wrestler named Seymour “Savage” Jackson. I love the book, but it’s a bit too one-note for me when it comes to plot. After several drafts I re-outlined the book many times, yet still (to this day) haven’t tackled it. But the pro-wrestling aspect stuck with me.

I’ve been on a huge nostalgia kick over the last year. I could put the blame on having two young boys, but it’s likely just me being a big kid. Part of that has been reconnecting with pro-wrestling, another diving back into manga, especially the more ‘literary’ and ‘slice-of-life’ from creators like Taiyo Matsumoto and Inio Asano.

Out of this madness, WRESTLETOWN was born. An illustrated hardback novel (cover and interior artwork by Andrew MacLean) about two orphans coming of age in a city obsessed with pro-wrestling, with fans who believe the action is real. The genre is a lot more fuzzy than KAYFABE or my other previous work, but I can definitely tell where my crime writing shows through in my voice, which is a long way of saying that my time with Shotgun Honey, both reading and writing (especially reading) has stuck with me since.

inklogo_120x120-5411e9d5cb4d7a47a13543245393f0b5WRESTLETOWN‘s a little different, a lot of fun, and my favorite project to date. The book is being published with Inkshares, a publisher that functions like Kickstarter, except by copy instead of dollar amount. I hope you guys will give it a look and consider supporting the pre-order campaign to bring this baby into existence in mid-2017.

OH YEAH! DIG IT!

Until next time…give ’em both barrels!


Preacher: Episode 10 – Call and Response

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And the landing my friends, it has been stuck.

In what’s probably the episode to match the absolute whacked out mad cap humor of Garth Ennis nearly 1:1, Call and Response serves as a fantastic finale to what many could and should deem “Preacher Begins”.

So it all leads to this: God’s coming by way of Jesse Custer—who is still very much on the run.

We establish it’s been a few days; we’re only 15 hours or so off from mass. Cassidy was picked up by Root at a whorehouse, Jesse is in hiding, and Tulip just got back from visiting Carlos. She stops at the local beauty parlor where a line of ladies are getting primped and waxed for the arrival of the Lord.

God HATES pubes, folks. Laser those buggers off and know his love!

Anyway, the show.

10948761_preacher-season-1-episode-10-call-and_66dde0a3_mTulip goes looking for Jesse and decides to visit Redneck Donnie and his creepy BDSM wife. Great use of lawn flamingo follows, but it’s all for nothing; Jesse’s their houseguest. There’s a creepy vibe here, though. Are they helping Jesse of their own accord? Possibly, Donnie half-deaf now.

Cassidy, though, well he’s in a spot. Root’s figured out what he is and has decided to fill Cass with bullets and blood until he finds out where Eugene is. Man, can I say what a fantastic job W. Earl Brown has done with this role? On the comic page, Sheriff Root was an odious redneck piece of garbage. TV’s root is a wonderfully realized, non-stereotypical southern lawman. He’s a standout to me throughout the season.

W. Earl Brown as Hugo Root - Preacher _ Season 1, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

Root and Cass have a conversation in between the shootings and Root decides to let him go once he’s had his fill of what-the-fuck for a lifetime.

Back at the Redneck BDSM household, Tulip reveals to Jesse that she has a gift for him: Carlos in the trunk. We finally see the entire story behind that foiled bank robbery and find out Tulip miscarried because of the entire mess. She wants an eye for an eye and Jesse gives in, deciding to put a bullet in Carlos for screwing them over out of jealousy for what they had.

After some back and forth, though, Tulip decides against murder and the pair opt for a good old fashioned ass whooping in a scene that could have been lifted straight off the page. Loved the shot of Jesse and Tulip shoulder to shoulder.

After all that wackiness, it’s game day. Quincannon cuts Jesse off—the dick—still firm in his belief in the God of Meat, but I think he’s going to have a hard revelation or three. The rest of the town shows up to church as well to watch Jesse have a little trouble figuring out how to work an angel phone, but once he gets it going, BOOM: well, hello God.

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And what a completely asinine, by the book God we get. Old white dude on a throne and all. At first he’s resistant to being summoned and questioned, but Jesse’s “balls” earns the town the right to question him. Quincannon seems to get closure on his loss and Jesse gets to ask about God’s plan. God plays it mysterious and vague—as God would do—but something about God’s hand-waving of Genesis and Eugene strike Jesse as off.

And he realizes something. This isn’t God.

Using Genesis, Jesse demands an explanation and gets one. God’s gone. The guy on the phone is an angel in a costume and nobody knows where He is. With that revealed to the town, well, things go a little sour.

- Preacher _ Season 1, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

The church gets torn up, that pedo bus driver gets speared, the town mascots commit suicide together, Odin cradles his meat baby (holy fuck, that was disturbing), and the man managing Quincannon Power & Meat’s Methane Power Plant dies of a heart attack while having some leather fun with a random lady. The poor girl tries to sort out the issues –with a ball gag in her mouth—but it’s no use. All the methane begins to vent and the Annville Savage’s final cigarette sets it all in motion.

That’s right, folks, Annville gets exploded in methane. The entire town is killed in an elaborate fart joke.

Bless you, Based Showrunners.

In the meantime, Jesse, Tulip, and Cass finish some promised French fries and get on the road. The goddamn whiners finally get the REAL beginning to this saga.

preach-finBack at Annville there’s a survivor! Our mini-assassin wanders out of the wreckage with a limp. She hears the sound that tell-tale sound of a hammer cocking and she’s immediately given a new hole in her chest. Behind her, the Cowboy, fresh from hell and with a single word on his lips.

Preacher.

Season 2 starts next week, right? RIGHT?

What did I love?

  • Everything. This was about as pitch perfect a finale I could have asked for. The humor, violence, and plot were wonderfully bizarre and the tone was nearly perfect. Kudos to the cast and crew. They really did a great job here.
  • Eugene is officially our replacement for John Wayne. It works. Jesse needs a conscience, not an avatar of ancient masculinity.
  • Tulip’s reaction to the word. It made up for the bleh pregnancy thing enough to make me forgive it.
  • Great callbacks to almost all the little jokes on the show. Pay attention to the missing pet signs on the diner!

My biggest gripes?

  • I don’t have a date for when season 2 begins.

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Well, it was a great ride. Thanks for reading my ramblings and feel free to ping me about your thoughts via Twitter @GoshDarnMyLife or right here in the comments. I’ve got ideas of where this is all headed and what changes may come. All I know is I’m absolutely thrilled we finally got a spiritually faithful rendition of a very beloved comic.


Preacher: Episode 9 – Finish the Song

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Back to Ratwater!

This week’s Finish the Song finally gives us a resolution to the Cowboy’s story—and it’s much stranger than you imagine. The least strange part? The Cowboy murdering the entire town as he forces a Chinese immigrant to continue singing an operatic ballad. It’s a tense and bloody scene. The Cowboy truly does love to kill.

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In the present day, Jesse is on his way to jail. Sheriff Root wants answers and Jesse provides them plainly before escaping form the back of the cruiser.

Deblanc and Fiore, fresh off their disappointing attempt to get Genesis back in its prison, visit a travel agency. The agent inside offers them a few getaways, but the boys are looking to go down south. Like super, super south.

preacher9_01And the plot train keeps rolling as Tulip calls Emily over and lets her know everything about Cassidy. Tulip’s been feeding him tons of animals, but Cassidy isn’t healing. Something about his condition and nonhuman blood doesn’t seem to jibe. Tulip heads off on a little road trip and Emily reveals what happened to Jesse—which Tulip gives zero fucks about. That is, until Emily reveals she’s dating the mayor. That changes Tulip’s demeanor quite a bit. Still, I thought Emily sort of hated him?

Meanwhile, Jesse eats pancakes with some homeless folks. Small scene, but it may be my favorite with Jesse so far. It feels like him for the first time in a while.

Back to Emily and Cassidy’s feeding time. Poor guinea pig. Poor Cassidy. We get a call back to an image from the comics here and I honestly think it’s VERY interesting how early it comes into play.

Back to the angels. One mentions leaving the radio on for the tiny heavenly assassin from a few episodes back. They’re packing up for their trip and debate the next move. They flip a coin to decide what to do and come up on calling Heaven twice. Only problem: no phone. It’s gone. There’s a tidbit or two here that I think may end up playing a very HUGE role in yet another deviation from the comic. 1) Calling Heaven means Fiore and Deblanc would be separated forever and 2) Deblanc knows what hell is like while Fiore doesn’t.

I have a theory.

I will not share it.

Emily gets a lot of screen time this episode and what I feel is ultimately a big hint as to what her fate will be next week—especially given the movie she’s watching. Cassidy isn’t satisfied, by the way. He’s screaming blue murder. Emily gets up to bring him a rabbit and we cut to Quincannon’s office where a few of his works are having a company fistfight?

Mayor Miles is there and gets a call from Emily. She’s in danger. Cassidy’s going to get her. The mayor rushes over to Tulip’s uncle’s house, but it’s a trap. Emily locks him in the room with Cassidy and the mayor’s all but the meal that the Irishman needed to finally bounce back. Can’t say I’ll miss the little weasel.

10846337_preacher-episode-9-annotations-a-quick_tb2c2fed1Sheriff Root gets called to the angel’s hotel room as the place is a bloodied, broken mess. In the bathroom? The still alive mini-assassin, well, sort of alive. She’s missing her limbs and is taking an ice bath. She begs the Sheriff to kill her, so he does (great moment of raw emotion too) which gets her reincarnated and back out in the world.

The angels catch their shuttle to hell, but poor Fiore can’t bring his comics. This lends more weight to my theory. Off to hell they go!

As for the phone they wanted to use? Jesse got it! He goes to Tulip’s uncle’s house—and that poor dude is always in a drunken coma, huh—and finds Emily there. She mentions Cassidy is there and heads off. Damn, Emily, you cold-blooded as fuck.

preacher-episode-108-cassidy-joseph-gilgun-jesse-dominic-cooperJesse finds a recuperating Cassidy and the many dead bodies in the room. The boys rekindle their bromance with apologies and an oath to help one another. Jesse breaks down his plan to use the phone and his power to call God down, but it seems the phone won’t work for human hands. Luckily, Cass knows where they can get a few angel limbs real easy and hell, they need to dispose of a corpse either way.

Before they leave, though, Jesse leaves Tulip a message of apology and heartfelt love. Tulip’s a little busy with that Carlos fella and a meat tenderizer.

And then the Cowboy’s story…begins again?

What the fuck?

We go through the motions again, though at a quicker clip (like, not multiple episodes of waiting).

Then it happens again.

And again.

And again.

The angels show up after the massacre and we finally find out that this isn’t necessarily the past, it’s also hell. Interesting to note: not as crowded as Ghost Eugene said it was. Guess Jesse’s just bug fuck crazy.

The angels offer the Cowboy a way out of reliving the worst days of his life over and over again. All he has to do is kill a Preacher.

On Earth, Jesse and Cassidy dig up some angel bodies underneath that very familiar tree.

Next week is going to be fucking insane.

What did I love?

  • AN ENTIRE EPISODE OF PLOT MOMENTUM. FINALLY,
  • The Cowboy’s fate is well-realized. We got a solid reason for him to hate a Preacher,
  • The buildup for certain characters to get their earned deserts,
  • Emily finally impressed me. Shame I think she’s dying.

My biggest gripes?

  • I would have liked some more Ghost Eugene. Should we call him Ghostface? ArseGhost?

God’s invited to the party next week. We’ll see if some theories hold water or whether I’m as big of an asshole as I believe I am. Either way, should be fun.


Preacher: Episode 8 – El Valero

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Hey now, here’s the episode that should have followed Sundowner. I wonder if there was some kind of mix up last week and they aired a bunch of non-essential deleted scenes. Because seriously, I’m still mad about He Gone.

Anyway, El Valero is a bit of a return to form and some forward momentum that provides some incredibly deep changes to the Preacher mythos that I think are pretty fucking brilliant. The episode also further cements my theories of what the outcome of this season will be, and honestly, I don’t think many people are seeing the biblical parallels here.

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We start off with a massive change as we find out what happened the night John Custer visited Odin Quincannon. Before he made that call, Odin lost what appeared to be about 90% of his family in a freak ski lift accident. Their bodies shipped to him, he’s in his office surrounded by the corpses of his loved ones and a live cow. John Custer shows up and Quincannon is broken; having gutted the corpses and the cow to show Custer he can no longer distinguish between the animals and his family. And thus he begins to worship the God of Meat.

I told you Jesse made a mistake using the Word on him without deeper context.

We move on to Quincannon’s raid of Jesse’s church and all these men find out that not only is Jesse a hell of a fighter, but he’s an expert marksman. There’s seriously no stopping this man—especially the drunker he gets. Jesse finally feels in character compared to last week. He’s drunk, guilty, and violent; having wasted energy trying to get Eugene back from hell with nor results. Once he runs Quincannon’s men off for the first time, though, he hears a noise in the hole he dug up in the church.

And out comes Eugene.

Holy fuck!

preacher-episode-107-jesse-cooper-4-935After fetching the poor kid some water, Eugene and Jesse have a long talk. We find out hell is pretty crowded and obviously not the most awesome place. Jesse calls Eugene’s dad and apologizes to the kid. He realizes now that he was wrong to judge, that it’s God’s job to judge everyone and he needed to understand that Genesis would come with consequences.

All the while, Quincannon and his men make their next plan of action. Something a little more organized since Jesse is a fucking force to be reckoned with.

Eugene and Jesse keep talking, but there’s a small problem. Eugene knows about the angels. Jesse realizes he never told the kid about them and Eugene’s caught: none of this is real, Jesse’s fucking crazy.

Ghost Eugene? I dig that. Jesse needs a Jiminy Cricket.

Meanwhile, Tulip adopts a dog…okay?

Quincannon’s men give the raid another try and Jesse sends them running back. One guy manages to get um, dismembered, but isn’t too freaked out. Probably shock—have a feeling getting your dick shot off can do that to a guy.

Anatol Yusef as DeBlanc, Tom Brooke as Fiore - Preacher _ Season 1, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

More and more folks are turning up to the standoff and Jesse announces over loudspeaker that he wants the angels to come. Thankfully, Sheriff Root’s there to understand the request and Deblanc & Fiore show up promptly. Jesse breaks his little restraining order on them and lets them know he’s ready to evict Genesis of they can help him get Eugene out of hell. Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily work out as intended as the little demon/angel spawn finds its way right back to Jesse after being extracted. This leaves the angels upset and leaving—planning a secondary option to resolve this mess.

That leaves Jesse alone, drunk, and stupidly open to an ambush by our favorite little Civil War reenactor, Donnie. Earlier, Donnie had a bright idea and shit a gun off while he had his head in his car trunk. Now he’s sort of deaf and the Word won’t work—and suddenly Donnie’s IQ had a jump in my eyes too. Jesse gets to eat the business end of a pistol and is brought before Quincannon to sign away that damn church.

Jesse’s willing to surrender, but he has a single final request: one more service. He’s going to call out God and if the deity offers nothing worthwhile, will denounce him as Quincannon wanted from the elder Custer so many years ago. Jesse’s lead off and taken in the back of Root’s cruiser—arrested, I guess—while the town watches. Man, this town sure seems all sorts of crazy bug fuck potentially past the point of redemption, huh?

Oh, and that dog Tulip bought? Food for a clearly recuperating Cassidy.

Meanwhile, that underground bunker shows up again. The pressure builds up and a silent guard presses a few buttons to prevent something from happening.

Have a feeling whatever might happen happens next week.

What did I love?

  • This episode felt like it had a purpose. Nice of you to join us so close to the finale, plot,
  • The implications of Ghost Eugene are huge. I’ll take him over John Wayne, to be honest,
  • Tulip’s complacency to Cassidy’s needs is sort of chilling. Hope this pays off,
  • ‘Preacher shot my dick off’ the music made that entire scene.

My biggest gripes?

  • I still want to see the God of Meat,
  • The townsfolk subplots are boring now,
  • No Cassidy? Boooooooo,
  • The first part of the church fight being behind closed doors. God damn, AMC, just give them a few extra grand.

Next week, Jesse’s going to continue his fail parade. You just know calling God is going to raise all sorts of fuckery.


Preacher: Episode 7 – He Gone

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Nothing worse than spoiled good will. Even if it’s in the service of a good payoff.

“He Gone” might be the weakest episode of the season so far—either a victim to the condensed storytelling a ten-episode season doesn’t have time for or a limited budget because of what’s to come.

But whatever, that’s beside the point. There’s some good character work here, even if the plot goes all sorts of nowhere—impending Quincannon ridiculousness notwithstanding.

We open right where we left off last week, Eugene’s gone to hell and Jesse seems sort of, well, not give a fuckey? Bonus: Cas was watching from above the whole damn time. Terrible event to witness; your best bud condemning a teenager to hell below.

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Jesse, in the meantime, just goes forward with Church service as if all validation of his religion hasn’t occurred. Kudos, Mr. Custer, kudos. After mass, Eugene’s dad is looking for his son; Jesse brushes it off—cold-hearted motherfucker.

Jackie Earle Haley as Odin Quincannon - Preacher _ Season 1, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

Oh hey, Odin Quincannon finished his Alamo playset. Also, he’s listening to cows screaming…

This was genuinely fucking disturbing. I may now be a vegan.

Flashback! The Story of Jesse and Tulip. After a fight, Papa Custer looks to have to take in little Tulip (the actress they got to play young Tulip is fucking amazing by the way) and we get a few wonderful glimpses into their early lives. Tulip’s a troublemaker, an O’Hare as Jesse’s father points out, and he calls Child Services to find her a proper home. This sets Jesse off and he prays for his father to die. Shame that wish comes true.

Nathan Darrow as John Custer, Dominic Ruggieri as Young Jesse, Ashley Aufderheide as Young Tulip - Preacher _ Season 1, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

We get a nod to fans in two forms during the flashbacks 1) Jesse LOVES John Wayne, even has a weird portrait of him and 2) ‘Until the end of the world’.

In present day, Tulip’s chasing down kids for her drunkle’s (GET IT) pants and being a certified bad ass in the process. She spots that damn mascot walking around again with his dog (my theory: that mascot? God).

Back at church, Jesse’ s got a prayer group, but Cas interrupts with the knowledge that he saw what happened. He’s also horrified to see Jesse gives zero fucks for some reason. He’s convinced at this point that Genesis needs to be evicted, but Jesse ain’t having it, off he goes to pray while Tulip shows up with a bunch of shit food to make dinner.

Cas and Tulip have a solid talk about their relationship with Jesse and the Reverend Custer sure is about the biggest shit heel in existence. He goes to his little prayer group and has some weird rehearsal for a play about Lot and his salty wife (how fucking apt) and comes off a bit fatalistic about the players’ reactions to the end of the world.

MY GAWD THE FORESHADOWING.

Quincannon comes a calling and reveals to Jesse that the Word didn’t quite stick. He has some paperwork for Jesse to sign and provide the church and land to as he didn’t become a Christian. Jesse tells him to fuck right off and the stage is set: Quincannon will be back.

Interesting to note: Quincannon doesn’t seem as dreamy as he was a handful of episodes ago. Wonder if someone shook the Word right out of him. Maybe that damn mascot.

preacher-ep7-cooper-fireAnd now, the most awkward dinner since the Whites and Jesse Pinkman had their silent supper in Breaking Bad. Sheriff Root comes calling for his son and Jesse’s caught in a lie. He walks the sheriff out and Cas confronts him again. Jesse reveals that Eugene deserved to go to hell. He shot the Loach girl and himself after an unrequited display of love. Jesse believes sinner should burn if they can’t be saved, so Cas finally goes full monty: he steps on into the sunlight and starts burning, leaving it to Jesse to decide whether to save him.

No answer to that as Jesse returns to the dinner table and is furious Tulip knew Cas was a vampire. He shits that bed and Tulip leaves.

We end this week with Jesse clawing at the floorboards of the church and screaming the word into the earth, trying to get Eugene to come back.

In the night, Odin’s coming and he’s got a small army with him.

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Man, we got three episodes left. No more wheel spinning.

What did I love?

  • The acting was great. Wonderful little character moments. That’s about it.
  • Well, aside from the fact that a lot of my theories are hold more water than a ten-gallon hat’s going to accommodate.

My Biggest Gripes?

  • It’s time for things to start coming to a head. Jesse’s downfall needs to come, this town needs to die, and a certain Saint needs to come marching in.
  • Not in love with the change to Eugene’s origin, BUT I have a feeling it may be hearsay.

Next week’s promo looks interesting, but I said the same last time. Tempering the fucking expectations.


Preacher: Episode 6 – Sundowner

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Oh…damn.

This week’s Preacher can definitely be pegged as the best of the run so far. With news that Season 2’s been greenlit, I think it’s high time folks on the fence jumped on over. If Sundowner is any indication, everything’s gonna get real fucky real fast.

Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer, Tom Brooke as Fiore, Anatol Yusef as DeBlanc - Preacher _ Season 1, Episode 5 - Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

We open with Jesse finally hearing the truth straight from angels Fiore and Deblanc: what’s in him is named Genesis, it is most certainly not God, and it is most certainly not to be toyed with. They explain that Heaven and Hell have been in eternal war. During the daily bloodbath, an angel and a demon did something extra dumb and fell in love. Their progeny? Genesis. Fiore and Deblanc are its custodians and need it back before worse shows up to claim the being.

Or at least before all 5 foot nothing of a Seraphim shows up and aims to murder Jesse, Fiore, and Deblanc.

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And man, what a murder attempt it is. The shitty room at the Sundowner Motel serves as the backdrop for the best fight of the series so far with Jesse, Deblanc, and Fiore versus a single Seraph. It’s chaotic, brutal, and chock full of expendable bodies.  I know folks seem to want this level of gleeful violence every episode, but it’s the sporadic bursts that suit me fine.

Things end with Cas providing some back up and Jesse using his powers on the angels to ensure they stay away from him. They realize they may need to use the “alternative” option. Whatever that is.

preacher-episode-6-sundowner-recap-questions-and-answers-1045692In the meantime, Tulip has words with Emily, breaking her sick kid’s art “thing” while trying to make a threat over Jesse. This leads to some bonding and soul-searching with Tulip softening and deciding to run errands for Emily to make up for her outburst (oh, we know there’s some goddamn ulterior motive here). We also get an interesting little revelation: Tulip had a kid once. No indication it was Jesse’s, but you have to wonder what the deal with that is.

Back to Cas and Jesse washing their clothes—and some beefcake for those interested in what our fellas look like in their skivvies—Cas asks about Jesse’s tattoos and gets two answers. That skull? From a mean old lady (OH HELL YES) and the tulip, well, come on man. The boys bond over tattoos and discuss Genesis further. Cas isn’t optimistic about things, but Jesse’s staying the course. He’s going to use Genesis to save how town. Cas is literally the sane voice in the room. Scary, no? Jesse gets to work setting up the church for service, planning to accommodate the large crowds by holding mass outdoors.

Still got that bad feeling.

Eugene, though, he’s doing alright since Jesse got the Loach matriarch to no longer want to crucify his ass. A few kids at school even sit with him at lunch and take him to a storm pipe to watch fireworks go off. It’s almost as if he’s being accepted again. It’s nice to see the kid not be a pariah for a change.

Following up on Odin Quincannon’s rampage last week. The mayor of Annville looks to be at the short end of that shit stick as he’s dodging calls from Green Acres and in a bit of a fucking mess. He goes to Jesse for advice, but it’s cut short with Tulip showing up to drop off leaflets and sacramental wine. Looks like he’s on his own covering this murder up.

Tulip and Jesse have words—with Cas hidden behind a door—and things seem a little tense. Jesse doesn’t trust her and now it seems Cas is a bit heartbroken to realize a woman he fell in love with is also in love with his best friend. Great work by Gilgun here. Makes me feel bad for a guy who maybe shouldn’t get the most empathy in the world.

Jump to Sunday and Jesse’s gearing up to lay the Genesis mojo on his parishioners. Not before Emily expresses her disapproval of Jesse’ recent set of decision and Eugene shows up for a talk. He wants Jesse to get the apology to go away. He feels like he deserves to earn redemption; that Jesse is cheating. Another highlight in the series here. Jesse and Eugene are at odds. Eugene doesn’t think this power is right. He thinks stripping people of choice is a sin.

And Jesse?

Jesse doesn’t agree. As a matter of fact, he and Genesis think Eugene should go to hell.

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So Eugene does. Only a leaflet—with his favorite bible passage—left behind.

OH MY FUCKING GOD.

Quick…no, fuck this ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE THOUGHTS:

This changes everything. Jesse can send people elsewhere with Genesis’ power. He sends Eugene to hell. It’s insane and it WORKS. It also lines up with my theories. Where this show is headed; Eugene will be back and I have a strong feeling he will be very loyal to whoever brings him back. This will be a parallel to Jesse’s journey and at this point, Eugene is his antithesis. It’s a game changer, but it’s a phenomenal thread; two sides of the same faith-based coin. Fantastic writing if it pays off.

Also? That “alternative” the angels have? He’s coming. I now fully believe most of Annville will be dying by the end of the season. Jesse is going to have a massive change of opinion and will have a lot to redeem himself for. So excited for Season 2.

Anyway, back to format.

What did I love?

  • Every major fight has outdone the last in this series so far. The Sundowner fight is one for the books. One of the most insane things I’ve ever seen on TV.
  • Tulip had a kid? Very interesting!
  • I actually enjoyed the supporting cast!

My Biggest Gripes?

  • The Cowboy’s story needs wrapping up—NOW
  • The lack of Quincannon so soon after that massacre was a little annoying.
  • Cas felt underused, but this was a super-fast paced episode. They need to keep this up.

Next week looks to be bonkers. What happened to Eugene? Will Jesse find out about Tulip and Cas? What about the angels? They can’t approach Jesse anymore, so who can they send in their stead?


Preacher: Episode 5 – The South Will Rise Again

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All hell’s a-comin’ friends.

South Will Rise Again feels two episodes late. Especially as we’re back in the past as our Cowboy friend finally enters the wonderful sounding town of Ratwater. Name like that, I can’t imagine there being any issues for our quiet rider.

Graham McTavish as The Cowboy - Saint of Killers _ Season 1 - Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

Oh wait, no, Ratwater is a fucking terrible place where fresh scalps are tossed around like bloody candy, families are murder/raped, and the local preacher is pretty much a massive scumbag.

Side note: it’s interesting that Ratwater seems to have been within the vicinity of Annville. I have a feeling this is going to be used.

Anyway, the Cowboy doesn’t listen to his wife and decides to play the hero at the last second when he sees that family who’d been kind to him during his trip to Ratwater. That just earns him a beating and a dead horse. Of course, this means he gets home too late. His wife and kid are crow food.

Fueled with rage, the Cowboy gets his guns and decides to throw Ratwater a little party.

More to come there.

In the present, Sheriff Root and Eugene inspect some noises outside their house only to come back inside to find Eugene’s room defaced with ‘FINISH THE JOB’ written on his wall and an arrow pointing to a shotgun left behind. Eugene’s not the most popular guy, is he?

Jesse’s enjoying life after the Sunday service that saw Quincannon converted. He’s enjoying a sunrise, going out to breakfast with Emily, and becoming a bonafide Jesus-loving rock star with the people. He tells Emily about his bet with Quincannon and she isn’t very happy. Thankfully, the argument is cut short when a bunch of Gospel enthusiasts pull him over for a conversation straight off a VHS tape distributed by creepy Christian cults.

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Tulip and Cassidy have a heart to heart about vampirism. He lets her know the only trouble he sees is from sunlight, doesn’t necessarily crave blood, and usually only kills those that deserve it. Satisfied, Tulip asks him to see his ass out. Cas has different plans; 1) he needs to know where to get high and 2) he’s in love with Tulip. Apparently, the man feels he’s too old to play games, so he just lays it out there. Tulip brings up her “boyfriend”—conveniently nameless and with vague life details—and Cassidy plants a few seeds of doubt about whether this boyfriend’s worth waiting for, especially since Tulip’s got a line on revenge on the man that ruined her relationship with Jesse.

Back at the Schenk household, Donnie’s wife is getting fed up with her piece of shit husband’s sad sack bullshit. She wants him back at work with Odin, but Donnie’s experience with Jesse has left him feeling a lot like the cows he grew up knocking. Eh, fuck him. He’s a dick.

Back at Fiore and Deblanc’s hotel room, that phone is still ringing. Deblanc walks Fiore trough what to say when he picks up, but they’re obsessing over details. Apparently, if they don’t nail this conversation, shit’s hitting the fan very, very fast. Poor bastards are totally in over their heads.

tumblr_o9f5wdY2UF1r5rk9to3_r1_400Emily goes back to the church and goes about a few errands only to get interrupted on the can by a very grumpy Tulip. She wants to know where Jesse is and Emily lets her know he’s holding his own little sermon on the mount over at the greasy spoon.

The Roots seem to be doing okay after the prior night’s vandalism, but Eugene’s need to please sets his father off. He wonders out loud if Eugene wouldn’t be better off taking the graffiti’s advice. Stand out scene here. Eugene is seriously a character I’m growing to really care about. This makes me worried.

In other weirdness, some dude is keeping track of an old-timey steampunk gauge that’s recording pressure? The equipment looks like something out of nuclear bunker and you know what? I’m going to shut up…I have a feeling I know what this is for. Fine, one hint: this little room is absolutely in the opening credits. Other tidbit: this did not exist in the comics.

We get to see what Quincannon’s up to now that he’s found God. He’s actually a pretty nice guy! He’s got the mayor over to apologize for using his briefcase as a bathroom and he’s ready to make amends. Donnie overhears that Odin went to church on Sunday and loses his shit. He wants to know what Jesse told Odin, convinced the Preacher’s working his evil charms again.

Preacher-Footage-32And Donnie’s not wrong. Jesse’s using his power on nearly everyone and he‘s getting off on it quite a bit. Tulip interrupts his group to tell folks about her attraction to bad boys and how Jesse is a bad, bad boy. The story is pretty outstanding and I will not ruin it here. Go watch the goddamn show.

Anyway, Eugene shows up—though, not allowed in the restaurant—and wants to talk to Jesse. He apologizes for being a pain in the ass and asking for help all the time. Eugene’s suffering. He’s tired of knowing he brought so much pain through his actions, which again inspires Jesse to do something real dumb. Interesting he makes the dumbest choices when Eugene comes calling. Not that it’s Eugene’s fault, but I think Jesse does less listening than he pretends to.

PREACHER_S1_Inside_104_01-800x450So Jesse’s bright idea? Bring Eugene to the Loach house and we get confirmation that the comatose girl is totally in her coma thanks to Eugene. Mama Loach goes bug-fuck crazy and Jesse uses his power to calm the situation down and follows it all up by making her forgive Eugene.

Once again, another decision I feel is going to go very, very, very bad.

We get a handful of scenes next, but Donnie’s crying isn’t so important and Tulip robbing a store’s not necessarily out of character. The angels get a real shock when they decide to pick up that phone and it stops ringing before they can.

Uh oh.

Tulip meets up with Cas outside of a strip club and hands him some drugs she stole. She seems done with Jesse, almost broken, and proceeds to consummate her new relationship with Cas by joylessly allowing him to mount her in her car. More on this absolutely MASSIVE change to storyline in my final thoughts.

Jesse’s back at the diner since this is how he gets his jollies now, but Sheriff Root shows up with those gentlemen from the government; Fiore and Deblanc. Looks like things are far more serious than they anticipated. The angels explain to Jesse they need what’s inside him—finding out Cassidy was conning them—but Jesse assures them he has no idea what’s going on. They mention he’s using the power inside him too much and reveal they’re from heaven.

Heaven as in the sky? Is there another?

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They have their coffee can with them and Jesse expresses confusion as to how God would live in a coffee can. To this, the boys answer: this ain’t God.

We close the episode with good guy Odin greeting Green Acres reps to his office. Our servant of God is ready to talk and make good. Well, if make good means mowing all four execs down with a shotgun.

You know, like God does.

Quick Thoughts:

  • Shit’s heating up. Quincannon’s serving SOMETHING. I’m interested in seeing what the deal is with that God.
  • The change in the Tulip/Cassidy relationship. Excellent choice. With how they’ve established Tulip, the comic storyline of this relationship would have drained her agency immediately. I’m glad she’s using Cas as some kind of emotional sponge. Should take us to interesting place.
  • That bunker: something is totally being held down there. Telling you—that town’s dying.

What did I love?

  • The entire cast killed it this week. Even the stupid new characters.
  • Eugene is probably my favorite character. I don’t even want to call him Arseface anymore.
  • That damn mascot pops up in the background of every episode! Wonder if there’s something more to that…

My Biggest Gripes?

  • Really? Not much this week. Not loving the way they’re parsing out the Cowboy’s story, but the payoff should be fantastic.
  • The Emily/toilet thing is tacked on. Make it funny or don’t do it.

Next week should hopefully provide some real meat. Jesse is probably going to get answers from the angels. Whether they want to give that info or not.


Preacher: Episode 4 – Monster Swamp

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We’re still moving slowly, but surely enough, we’re moving.

This week’s “Monster Swamp” is a weird one. I’m beginning to understand why some folks aren’t entirely sold on Preacher, but at the same time, AMC is pretty legendary for its budget fuckery and wheel-spinning it necessitates; so there needs to be plenty of moments where you take a breath as a fan.

On the plus side: I have theories I’m going to share at the end of this week’s recap. Not so much to convince anyone of anything they aren’t already convinced of, but because it’s always fun to speculate and wonder. This slow pace has to be for a reason. The showrunners and writers have proven they understand the spirit of the material.

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Case in point—the opening to this week’s Monster Swamp.

We get a strange little scene. Girl running in her panties from a scary truck. She looks for a place to hide. No dice: more girls in their underwear already got that hidey hole.

Wait, what?

Looks like Quincannon’s men not only get ample use of the town brothel, but they play a hunting game with the hookers. It’s with paint guns so I guess that’s okay? Seems this town is very under Odin Quincannon’s thumb.

All’s fun and games until one of the girls falls into a sinkhole and drowns in mud (well, hopefully its mud).

After the title credits, we get to watch a young Jesse prep the church for his father’s Sunday service. It looks like an easier time for the young Custer. His father demanded respect and received it. In present day, Jesse sits in the pews praying or ruminating while Cas makes an attempt at informing him of the angels that have asked him to be the middleman in getting their prisoner back in its coffee can. Jesse brushes Cas off, too involved in his preachery plan to care and heads out for a drive.

Tulip, among others, gets a chance to see the authorities pull a dead hooker from a hole while Quincannon slaps his men on the wrist and admonishes the girls—class act. This is obviously not going to go well with Tulip. I feel like Odin may find out what a bad idea it is to get on her bad side, especially the chuckling fuck-nuggets that work for him.

Jesse goes to visit Emily (I finally bothered to Google the character’s name) to talk about getting more asses onto seats in the church. We get a solid (HA) poop joke out of this. Anyway, Jess wants her to get a fancy TV to lure the more base morons to service on Sunday. We get a little weird, post-poop confrontation about Pedo-Pete the bus driver and romantic tension; as you do. We also get a glimpse of John Custer tanning young Jesse’s hide for smoking a cigarette.

Huh…Papa Custer was a hardcore Old Testament type.

preacher-cassidy-gilgun-deblancNow Cas is dragging out his end of the bargain with his new angel friends. They’re not very bright and are getting a little desperate, but you figure when your only plan is to rip a guy open with a chainsaw to get whatever the hell that is out of him, you’re the type to get desperate. Cas pretends to take notes, demands money to get Jesse high on all these drugs, and ditches. The angels, though, don’t trust him and one posits they make a call to home base. We find out the angels are on Earth in secret. I guess their boss/bosses aren’t in the know.

Obviously, Cas left to do drugs and get a hummer at the brothel. I mean, come on, you trusting a man with a lilt like that?

The episode looks to be themed on indifference as Odin Quincannon is back at work playing Q-Bert until the town mayor comes over for a talk about the dead hooker. Quincannon doesn’t let the man leave without letting him know that he knows the Mayor’s been chatting it up with a green company about alternative energy solutions.

He then literally pisses in the man’s briefcase.

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In the meantime, the angels continue to wait on Cas. A phone rings—their creepy angel phone? Nope. Thankfully, it’s the hotel room phone. Just the hotel manager asking when they hell they’re leaving. The taller angel decides to go for a walk. The angel wants a burger he saw on TV (nice little nod of what may come for Fiore and Deblanc).

Back to Emily and…oh, get the fuck outta here with this side plot. NEXT.

preacher-cassidy-gilgun-2At the brothel, Tulip’s still pretty pissed but gets talked off the ledge before she puts a hurting on a few of the regulars. We get a little tidbit on her past and her mother’s connection to the brothel (big, big change there). Tulip’s temper subsides for all of two minutes before she runs upstairs and beats the living shit out of a John mid-pump. Poor guy goes right out the window and Tulip realizes her target was kind of/sort of wrong as our Irish friend Cassidy lands boner-side down on the roof of a car. Oh, and he’s got a good chunk of glass caught in his neck. Tulip gets him to the hospital only to lose the Irish bastard and find him chugging down a gross of O+ in the hospital blood bank.

Back to Jesse and his father in the past. John Custer liked visiting Odin Quincannon in the middle of the night to preach at him? That’s fucking weird. I’m thinking this is going to get followed up on at some point. In the present day, Jesse visits Odin and helps with a miniature set of what looks to be The Alamo (NICE FORESHADOWING) and gives Quincannon an ultimatum: he comes to service Sunday and if Jesse doesn’t convince him to be a man of God, Odin gets Jesse’s land.

SUNDAY

Jesse gives an impassioned speech about how the town’s lost its way because it’s abandoned God. The people of Annville will no longer serve Him and only serve their own desires. He singles out Quincannon and asks that he serve God. Odin refuses Jesse two times (cute) before Jesse uses his power to persuade a change of heart. Quincannon says he will serve God, but man, I’ve got a very, very bad feeling about this.

To cap it all off, that fancy steampunk phone the angels brought with them from heaven? It’s ringing.

This week, my thoughts are not quick. I may delve a little into the comics so, steer clear if you hate cross-pollinating spoilers.

Personally? I think Jesse’s going to get almost everyone in this town killed. Be it at the hand of God or the Saint (who is absolutely coming this season), a LOT of these people are going to die. If this is what a lot of folks are calling ‘Preacher Begins’ and as Cassidy totally dropped hints about a road trip, well, we need a reason. Jesse utterly failing, utterly detaching himself from his father’s legacy through failure, is a damn solid reason not just to kick off the road trip, but also for Jesse to be afraid of his power, get that mean streak back, and be very, very mad at the Big Man Upstairs (who ain’t so upstairs anymore).

This will also leave Eugene on a parallel path while maintaining his character arc where he decided to carry out justice on Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy as Arseface.

There’s potential here. I’m just hoping it all happens sooner than it feels like it will (especially with some of the cast showing up for all ten episodes).

ANYWAY.

What did I love?

  • Cassidy finally revealing to someone he’s a tried and true vampire. Great image.
  • That craving for a Big as Texas burger.
  • Hooker eulogy—very Ennis.
  • The changes to Tulip’s past. They’re even more blatant than Jesse’s but I think it works in her favor. Her mother’s not a prop to serve her father’s character and shallow feminism.

My Biggest Gripes?

  • Where the fuck is my boy, Eugene?
  • Not sure how I feel about that weirdness with John Custer. Felt as if they may be leading up to revelations about the man not being exactly all there.
  • Whatever with that Mayor/Emily scene. Waste of time.
  • OH MY GOD CAN WE GET THE SERAPHIM, THE SAINT, AND THE PLOT MOVING.

Hoping next week brings some real fuckery. I’d hate for the first season of this show to be a Hershel’s Farm season.


From 700 Words to Novels

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Hello, I’m Ron Earl Phillips.

Hi Ron. It’s okay, I know you want to say it.

You may know me from such venues as… well this, Shotgun Honey, and as that guy who got taken away by ambulance at Bouchercon 2015. Fun times. I’m okay now. Mostly.

Five years ago I raised my hand and volunteered to join Kent Gowran, along with Sabrina Ogden, to start a flashzine called Shotgun Honey. That kind of makes the site middle-aged in internet years, and well since then, I’ve definitely hit my middle-age. We’ve published some of the best darn flash fiction of the crime variety we could find, at a pretty steady clip.

Since then Shotgun Honey has changed, grown, shrunk, and grown again.

Kent and Sabrina now have emeritus status, along with Chad Rohrbacher, Christopher Irvin, Joe Myers, Erik Arneson. The flashzine portion of Shotgun Honey is stalwartly guarded by current editors Jen Conley, Angel Luis Colón, and Nick Kolakowski. And for a while we even had Craig McNeely pinch hitting. These folks have helped give voice to 100s of author telling short stories in under 700 words.

To me, Shotgun Honey was created to give writers a voice and a venue in an overwhelming community of writers of crime, noir, and hard-boiled fiction. Short fiction builds the foundation of longer fiction. Teaches the fundamentals of story telling. If you can tell a story with a beginning, middle and end in under 700 words, there’s no reason you aren’t able to tackle longer short stories, novellas and even novels. Venues like Shotgun Honey build craft.

The benefit of being the managing editor, now publisher, of Shotgun Honey for the last 5 years is that I get to see writers build their craft, grow as writers, and make those big leaps.

December-Boys-high-res-copyThis week on my nightstand I have a copy of DECEMBER BOYS by Joe Clifford. My experience with Joe started with his first story on Shotgun Honey, “One Good Reason”. Since then he’s been a powerhouse, releasing a short story collection titled CHOICE CUTS, writing his memoir JUNKIE LOVE, followed by the over-the-top WAKE THE UNDERTAKER, to the first Jay Porter novel LAMENTATION. He was also editor for our insidious rival Out of the Gutter’s The Flash Fiction Offensive, not to mention one of the editors of TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLANDCrime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Bruce Springsteen.

DECEMBER BOYS is the follow up to LAMENTATION, and only being halfway through, it is already one of the best follow ups I’ve read. Still recovering from the events of LAMENTATION, Jay Porter is determined to derail his attempts at being a good father and husband, and even salvageable employee, as he is lured into yet another conspiracy. I don’t know how it turns out yet, but at least Jay has that bald co-worker named Ron to cheer him on.

I highly recommend you get both books in the series. LAMENTATION is only 99 cents for digital. I have it under good authority that there’s a book three in the works.

shotindetroit-patriciaabbottNot in my collection yet, but released this week from Polis Books is SHOT IN DETROIT by Patti Abbott. This is a sophomore novel release from one of my most admired Shotgun Honey alums. Patti has been a marvelous supporter and contributor, having contributed both flash fiction for the site and short stories for each of our anthologies. Last year saw her debut novel, CONCRETE ANGEL, which was fantastic. Patti had two previous collections with Snubnose Press, MONKEY JUSTICE and HOME INVASION.

Texas-Hold-Your-Queens-Front-Cover-largeWhile you’re putting all these books on your reading list, please consider our newest release TEXAS, HOLD YOUR QUEENS by Marie S. Crosswell.

I was first introduced to Marie S. Crosswell with her submission to SHOTGUN HONEY PRESENTS: LOCKED AND LOADED (Both Barrels Vol3) with “Predators,” a story of female private detective helping the police infiltrate a sex-trafficking outfit in LA. Shortly after that, TEXAS, HOLD YOUR QUEENS was submitted for our novella line. A very similar themed story featuring a pair of female detectives in south Texas, Mason Page and Farrah Tyler, working find the killer of a supposed illegal working girl found near the Mexican border. As leads are found and choices are made, the real story unfurls. Choices are made and consequences are had.

And while you’re waiting to pick up these great books, don’t forget to read this weeks flash fiction: “Hongdai: 4:23 am” by Aaron Fox-Lerner and “A Better Job” by Charles R. Rutledge.

Until next week, I’ll be dodging bullets and reading adventures.

 


Preacher: Episode 3 – Possibilities

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We’re on a weekly schedule!

About damn time. So, do we finally get moving? Well, yes and no. I can still see folks being nonplussed with the momentum of Preacher so far, but ‘Possibilities’ presents, well, possibilities. A lot of them.

We open with Tulip making a visit to Houston. She’s handing over that Grail Industries map to a lady named Danny. When Tulip asks about the company, she’s told to mind her damn business and gets what she came to trade for; the last known address of someone who screwed her over many, many moons ago. Seems that mess was the day things went sour between Tulip and Jesse.

AMC_PREACHER_S1_102_SP-800x450This Danny, though. Interestingly, she’s driving a truck that provides Mitzvot On The Spot…interesting. She drives to a back alley where there seems to be a really creepy movie playing based on all the screams. She delivers the map to a silent fella in white suit (oh man) and he leaves—wide-brimmed fedora perched on his bald head.

Let it not be said these boys aren’t providing Preacher fans with a crazy amount of crumbs on the trail.

Back to the Sundowner motel. Seems the two guys Cassidy brutally murdered last week are explaining their government agent status to Sheriff Root. Root regales them with a story about child murder that’s dark as all fucking get out. Fun stuff.

Root leaves the miraculously living duo to reassess their plans. This time: ALL THE GUNS.

Man, no Jesse or Cass yet.

We get to jump over to the Loach household where Jesse’s right-hand lady visits and gets the rundown on Jesse’s experiment from last week. Seems the Loach girl opened her eyes, but that’s about that. She’s still comatose. Still, he’s seemingly reignited Mother Loach’s faith.

Aaaaand another jump over to our broken-armed butthole Donnie. He has a talk with his son about the whole arm break thing. Takes his kid to the bus stop and, oh hey, Pedo-Pete. Pete (I don’t remember his name) has forgotten the object of his lust, which another kid calls him out on right before the others make rabbit squeals at Donnie.

Seems Jesse and Genesis are making enemies.

Nearly fifteen minutes in and we finally get to Cassidy. Poor bastard’s got a coffin waiting outside in the sun and Jesse’s assistant sure as hell would like him to do something like work for his room and board. Cass goes to get the van keys and manages to find himself a nice outdoors hat. On his way out—while showing off his singing chops to a Dubliners tune—Cass finds Jesse skulked in the dark smoking a cigarette. Jesse has something to show him.

Before that, seems Tulip’s broken a few speeding laws on her way back to town. She talks her way out of a ticket by using some fake credentials and a false military history. Of course, she had a backup with that pistol she had under her leg the entire stop.

the-6-most-kickass-moments-from-preacher-episode-the-possibilities-1015479Alright, seems the boys have been playing with Jesse’s abilities. Poor Cass is hopping and admitting to his love of Justin Bieber. A few interesting things we learn here: 1) Jesse can’t make you do something you literally can’t do and 2) Seems this power comes off a little addictive—real slippery slope stuff. Cass seems completely enamored with it, though.

Over to Odin Quincannon; who seems to relax by listening to cows being slaughtered—as you do.

Back to Jesse and Cass. Cass posits Jesse may be a Jedi—which would rock. He’s excited about this strange turn of events. Maybe he’s finally found someone a little like him or maybe the idea of a buddy who can make people do whatever the fuck he wants sounds fun as hell. Jesse’s not as enthused, but Cass drives it forward. He wants to know how it feels and Jesse provides a poetic and disturbing account of what it is to have this being inside of him. Dark stuff, but understandably potent enough to be addictive. Cass can relate. The man knows what it is to suddenly be something MORE. He assures Jesse that he doesn’t have to feel cursed.

Fiore and Deblanc (our seemingly immortal men on a mission) are watching a memorial service for Tom Cruise and their all geared up.

Quincannon, in the meantime, ignores his right-hand man without a right hand, Donnie, and emasculates him. That’s not enough to make him happy, I suppose, so back to listening to the death rattle of cattle—it rhymes, see?

Aside: they’re setting up that Quincannon reveal, aren’t they? Christ.

Anyway, I think Donnie’s fit to burst about now.

Cassidy finally gets off his ass and gets rid of that body.

Meanwhile, Jesse’s driving and thinking. Tulip catches up for some more soul-searching conversation and lets him know that she has the last known address of a man named Carlos. Another flashback shows us a longer haired Jesse Custer at the better end of a gun. When Carlos ditched them, seems he had to kill a security guard. With Tulip’s new knowledge and an itch for revenge, he finally agrees to go on this job with her.

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Back to Fiore and Deblanc. They’re armed to the teeth and ready to tear shit up. Unfortunately, Cass runs them over and they die…again. He figures these must be clones—I love that it’s just a given to Cass—and bemoans needing to get rid of another pair of bodies. He goes to get bags and cutting utensils, but is surprised by the now thrice-lived pair. This time, they’d rather talk—smart choice. The boys explain they need to get whatever it is inside Jesse out and back into its prison.

Jesse and Tulip make a pit stop and it seems Jesse’s ready to tell Tulip about Genesis, but he stops. Instead, he goes to take a leak and, boom: Donnie seems to be round with a gun and a chip on his shoulder. Again, we’re presented with Jesse using his power to nearly make Donnie eat a bullet. This ability doesn’t seem easy to curtail but just as he’s about to cross that line, Jesse realizes what he needs to do (does a lot of that, doesn’t he) and lets Donnie leave with his tail between his legs again.

I have a feeling that will be a mistake next episode.

Jesse comes back out and changes his mind; Carlos‘ fate can be left to God.

Damn, Jesse, you are really going to regret all these choices.

Cass manages to talk Fiore and Deblanc down while admitting they work for heaven. They’re also completely unfazed that Cass is a vampire. All they want is to lock Genesis back up and be on their way, so Cass offers to be a middleman. He’ll talk to Jesse and help them out.

We then get a small moment with Eugene Root. He wants to visit the Loach family and his father tells him to not dare do that unless he wants to get himself killed. Wonder if his condition has anything to do with that poor girl.

We finally end the episode with Jesse presiding over the funeral of that poor parishioner who tore his own heart out in the pilot. We see John Custer’s grave—but not Jesse’s mother’s—and as we pan out, a pipe opens ominously as Jesse speaks of the dead rising.

Wonder if that has anything to do with what happened back in 1881.

Quick Thoughts:

  • Jesse’s going to fail the fuck out of this town. It’s going to be bad, bad, bad.
  • Tulip is my new crush and I am not ashamed of it at all.
  • That man in the white suit…could it be? Am I using my inverted commas correctly? DOUBLE CHECK FOR ME.
  • Eugene’s story, again, a very interesting parallel to Jesse’s. Arseface may be the surprise breakout by the end of this season.

What did I love?

  • Houston’s 4th annual Snuff Film Festival—pure Ennis right there.
  • Quincannon is terrifying.
  • I sort of dig the idea of a group of people affected by Jesse and Genesis banding together against him.
  • Tulip and Cass have yet to bring me down.

My biggest gripes?

  • Let’s get on with it. I have a feeling whatever the BIG MOMENT that’s coming will be in episode 5. Has to be a reason to only provide four episodes to reviewers in advance.
  • Sort of letdown we didn’t get part 2 of The Story of You-Know-Who.
  • The new characters are growing on me, but they’re still a little meh.

Until next week!


Preacher: Episode 2 – See

preaching-to-the-choirTwo goddamn weeks we waited and well, we get a LOT more questions than answers on this week’s Preacher. Rogen and company seem to be fans of the slow burn and while we get a few pops this week, that fuse is still long as fuck.

That’s not to say ‘See’ doesn’t provide a great ride to those questions, but I can clearly see folks who haven’t read the comics may get that little scratching frustration at the back of their neck.

Ignore it. Onward!

So we open on…wait. What the hell is this? This an episode of Hell on Wheels? Why is there a cowboy? 1881? Does anyone even watch Hell on Wheels?

An aside—non-comic readers go away a second…

They gone?

HOLY FUCK OHMYGODMHMYGODMHMYGOD WE’RE ALREADY GETTING THE STORY OF YOU-KNOW-WHO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ahem…anyway.

the-5-most-kickass-moments-from-episode-2-of-preacher-the-saint-enters-the-town-e-of-r-1005375

So, 1881. Gruff-looking son of a bitch needs to get medicine for his daughter. He’s not too talkative and seems pretty damn weary. I’m guessing having to go to a town called Ratwater and being greeted with a hanging tree—with appropriate ‘ornaments’—can do that to a guy. More to come from this guy soon and let me tell you; it’s going to be insane.

Back to present day and our man Jesse’s full tilt into being a man of God. This means outdoor baths for everyone! Jesse’s hell-bent on getting his town cleansed of their sins and making his church something special again, though it doesn’t seem as if Tulip or Cassidy necessarily believe him and the rest of the townsfolk may not either.

In the meantime, Cassidy’s gonna Cassidy and is trying to get a line on some cash and a means out of town. He’s also stealing communion wine—classy. Bright side: Cassidy meets Eugene and gets the ball rolling on branding the poor bastard by his true name. Jesse asks Cass to tone it down though, telling him that he likes him being around. Seems like that’s something Cass doesn’t hear. Jesse doesn’t seem to notice that he’s making a friend of the Irish bastard.

That’s okay, though, because one parishioner believes in Jesse and wants to bear his soul. He believes in in Jesse so much, he takes him aside for confession; though, you know, because it’s confidential and stuff. Also because he’s a creepy pedophile.

Jesse’s clearly unnerved and all that peace and love shit nearly goes out the window, but he finds his balance and makes this nimrod assure him it’s just feeling and nothing to ever, ever, EVER act out on. The scumbag ‘agrees’ and goes back to being the town school bus driver…

Aw crap.

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Elsewhere, we meet a little man by the name of Odin Quincannon. He’s busy tearing down a house and being EXTRA creepy about his business. Looks like Jesse’s victim, Donny, from last week works for him and his arm is in pretty rough shape—and clearly his ego is still much bruised. Quincannon’s looking like he may be quite the presence very soon, but not today.

Back to Jesse handing out fliers and asking for suggestions at the supermarket. He spots Pedo-Pete’s school bus and that anger bubbles up. Too bad Tulip passes by—steering wheel stolen from Jesse’s car—and needles him a little. Looks like she even did him the favor of taping that wheel to the top of a street light. That may take him a while to get back.

And clearly it does, as Jesse arrives back to the church just in time for ‘dinner’ with Cass. Drunk heart to hearts always help and both men bare a little of their souls to one another. We get some hints as to how Jesse knows how to fight and Cass seems defensive about a Grandmother Jesse thinks he made up.

preach203Then, Cassidy drops the bomb: he’s a 119 year-old vampire on the run from a religious order of vampire killers. Also, he hates The Big Lebowski (what the fuck, Cass? I thought I knew you).  Jesse laughs it off, steals Cass’ small bottle of homemade drink, and promptly passes out. I have a feeling Jesse will look back on that moment and feel very, very stupid by next episode—and it won’t be because Cass stole his wallet and truck.

Oh hey, back to those weirdos from last episode and their location-appropriate fashion. Seems they’re ‘ready’ for something. They leave their hotel with a big chest and head on over to the church where they find Jesse fast asleep—interesting little moment where we get to see Genesis too.

The men prep and place Jesse on, a mat, put together a very archaic looking machine, and place a coffee can on his chest. Then one of them sings ‘Wynken, Blynken, and Nod’ with a terrifying musical accompaniment.  The song does nothing and while one notes it doesn’t make sense; his partner decides to go with Plan B: a chainsaw.

Well, sure, if that works.

Thankfully, Cass comes to the rescue. He’s figuring these guys are part of the religious order chasing him. He speechifies and gets interrupted with a Colt round to the gut. Then begins what may be one of the most violent fights I’ve ever seen on TV. It’s a marvel to behold. Bibles, teeth, and chainsaws; folks. Truly glorious stuff. Cass kills our mysterious attackers and figures that chainsaw may be damn helpful in sorting out the bodies, but first; a little blood to get those wounds healed up. Of course, the sun keeps him from finishing up everything. At least he mopped the floors!

And by the way, great camerawork during this scene. What a fun and frenetic fight.

the-5-most-kickass-moments-from-episode-2-of-preacher-1005272Meanwhile, at a whorehouse, Tulip plays cards and pisses folks off. She gets a call from a Danny about that map from last week. Curious indeed!

Jesse gets his ass kicked awake by his organist. She hates Cassidy or something (honestly, not loving these newer characters). She hands Jesse a casserole for his visit to the Loaches, a family with a daughter in a coma thanks to having an impressively dented head. Apparently, she can still hear. Jesse and the girl’s mother have a long talk and it’s looking like Mom’s just about spent of fucks to give. Jesse gives her his high and mighty spiel and she is not having it. Lot of foreshadowing here.

And again Jesse sees that damn school bus.

Shame he gets interrupted with a Taser and abduction on the road when he makes a stop to inspect a package lying there.

Jesse wakes up in a basement chained to a bed. His captor appears in a freaky mask and pulls it away to reveal: Tulip.

I think I love this woman.

preacher-episode-101-tulip-negga-jesse-cooper-photos-800x600Tulip’s disappointed in Jesse’s lack of enthusiasm for her games and her insistence that he is not this man of God he’s claiming to be. She lets him know her little map is going to lead to a deal. She’s going to get information that Jesse may be very interested in. Jesse says he doesn’t give a shit, but Tulip doesn’t care. Her plan’s to wear him down and remind him of the bad ass motherfucker he’s always been. Tulip leaves Jesse and he finds out he wasn’t as trapped as he thought he was.

Back at the church, Jesse works on the ankle bracelet Tulip actually locked and Eugene comes a calling. The poor kid’s still having a massive crisis of conscience. Even Jesse’s baptism didn’t help him to feel better. The poor kid’s desperate to feel forgiven, as if he has purpose. Jesse tells him change needs to come from God. Eugene counters with the question of what if God wants him to be the person he always was.

Of course, this inspires Jesse to finally give in and pay the pedophile a visit. The plan: another baptism. This time, the water’s going to be a little bit more on the side of scalding. It takes a few tries, though, and Jesse’s anger seems to kick Genesis awake as that voice emerges from him and forces the man to forget about the little girl he’s obsessed with.

This time, Jesse sees this power in action and he runs off back to the Loach house, taps into Genesis again, and says, “Open your eyes…”

Oh yeah, and Cass buries those bodies under an incredibly familiar looking tree—sans Native American corpses. I’d imagine a little over a century would mean those went away. What’s stranger is Sheriff Root happens to be interrogating those two men in their hotel room.

Wait, what?

I have a pretty bad feeling about all of this.

Some quick thoughts:

  • I think I see where some of these new pieces are going and let me tell you; Jesse and company are in for a hell of an awful time.
  • Pay attention to Eugene. His arc feels like it will be much more of a parallel to Jesse’s than I initially thought. There’s really a lot of interesting writing going on there. Should be real heartbreaking if what I think happens does happen.
  • 1881—god damn I am EXCITED

What did I love?

  • Negga and Gilgun can do no wrong. Tulip is officially my favorite character. She’s bursting with life and is so much damn fun.
  • That church fight was incredible. Hopes are high for some of the other insanity.
  • Quincannon’s intro, while short, heavily alluded to some deeply disturbing shit to come. If they go there…holy hell…IF THEY GO THERE.

My biggest gripes?

  • This episode definitely had some wheel spinning. I’m hoping we pick it up now.
  • The new characters are still sort of awful. I honestly don’t give a good damn about a single one of them. I can’t even remember their names.

I know part of Jesse’ arc involves some navel gazing, but I’m sort of longing for the take charge motherfucker Jesse to finally show his face. Let’s get on with it!