Trimmigrant Song

Eric’s fingers were sticky; stained a sickly green to the second knuckles.

11 hours straight trimming, examining, and focusing on the leaves. The heady smell of the marijuana plants fading then returning with every snip.

There was a promise for the summer. A sure thing.

“We can pull in three to five grand easy,” Aaron said, “take the earnings and put something down on a house in Detroit. Property values are still trash out there and we can swoop in, build something up, and flip it once the market goes hot.”

Eric believed Aaron. He always believed Aaron even when he said he didn’t believe him.

“Who got us out of there?” Aaron asked. “Who got us the car and cash to make it out to the Emerald Triangle? It’s only a few weeks work.”

Better for it, Eric thought as he rubbed his calloused hands. The color was still there after multiple washes. The smell too. It journeyed with him out back to the car at night. Woke him up sometimes if he scratched his beard while sleeping.

Aaron wasn’t in the front seat sleeping. Too busy wandering around with those French kids.

• • •

The barista called them Trimmigrants.

“That’s a dumb name,” Aaron said.

“But it’s true,” a stranger pointed out, “we’re the same as any of the Mexicans picking strawberries.”

“That mean we getting Mexican wages?” Aaron asked sarcastically.

It made Eric feel uncomfortable. The work was hard, and they acted like it was glamorous. The promise of that cash was all they talked about; what they’d do with it, how many grams of this or tickets to this the money would buy. Dozens of disappointed parents whose presence was only the ping of non-stop mobile notifications—bank transfers and texts. Eric knew to take his breaks on Friday mornings—parent paydays—for fear of losing his temper.

“You can’t go losing that temper again,” Aaron warned him, “Only three more weeks and we’re gold.” He laughed looking at his hands. “Shit man,” he said, “we literally got green thumbs.”

• • •

Harold, the owner, was a slight man. Always wore sunglasses. Harrumphed into and out of the trimming room on good days. On bad days he screamed blue murder at the women that didn’t respond to his awkward advances.

Not many of the women lasted. Only Aaron’s friends were left on the last day—pay day.

But there was no pay. There was no Harry. There was nothing.

The French girls cursed and smoked. The greenhouse was locked and emptied. A mess of tire and boot tracks covered the dirt in patterns—it had rained the night before. They took all the product and ghosted.

“I don’t think this was Harry’s land,” Aaron said.

“You said this was a sure thing.” Eric almost slipped on a wet patch of dirt.

“We’ll find him,” Aaron said, “We’ll get our money. You think I’ll let that motherfucker do us dirty like that?” He made a show of it. Paced and hollered at the empty greenhouse. The girls laughed and applauded his anger.

The cops were beginning to usher the trimmigrants out of town. Picking season was done and nobody wanted to look at the help while celebrating their profits. Eric volunteered to pack up the car. Aaron ran off with his girls for one more night. It was better that way.

Eric packed the trunk. Moved a few boxes and found a pair of boots—mud-caked, Aaron’s size. There’d only been one night of rain and Aaron always wore Vans. Leaning in, Eric noticed the trunk stank like his hands.

The realization burned Eric up something fierce. The cool off wasn’t happening anytime soon. Eric finished packing up, but before that pulled the tire iron from the trunk’s spare tire kit and slipped it under the passenger side seat. Waited hours for Aaron to come back, but Aaron did—nice and drunk.

“We’ll have our cash by tomorrow.” Aaron leaned back into his seat. Closed his eyes. “Believe me, I got this.” He was snoring in seconds.

Eric dug his heels back and felt the weight of the tire iron against the soles of his shoes. He stared at the road and tried to believe in Aaron more than the promise beneath his seat.


William E. Wallace and the completion of the OEP Re-Issues

It’s been a while, and kind of a crazy year. How have you been?

Last year, almost a year ago, I announced our new partnership with Down & Out Books. I can’t say enough great things about Eric and Lance, who have done a stand up job with their own line of books, and have become home to so many talented writers with the inclusion of new imprints like ABC Group Documentation, All Due Respect Books, and of course Shotgun Honey. Also, respect to those imprint publishers Jeremy Stabile and Chris Rhatigan.

Overall, the change has been positive, and I have some really exciting books coming out in 2018 and 2019 which I might not have had a chance to work with if not for Eric and Lance. However, change has its obstacles, and of course I’ve thrown a few wrenches, maybe some lawn furniture, in the mix. The end result were some really tight deadlines for scheduled books and delayed releases of the One Eye Press re-issues. I know Lance says a a prayer and a curse for me every night.

What? Get to the point? Okay, okay.

Shotgun Honey is pleased to announce the re-issue of Face Value by William E. Wallace. Originally released in the summer of 2016, Face Value, would end up being William’s last book before losing his battle to cancer on February 25th of this year. It would be the only Eddie Pax novella, though we had talked about future books. I loved the work William put forward not only for himself, but for others, and the moments of compassion. In 2016, I discovered I had a brain tumor, and when you hear that kind of news your thoughts go towards the worst end of the spectrum. I was scared, but William without pause was there to lift me up and say positive things. This was when he knew that he had an expiration date that was already past.

Face Value is the final One Eye Press re-issue, which means that if you missed them prior you can pick them up again.

Next year brings a new batch of books, but one returns Shotgun Honey back to it’s anthology days with a collection that I’m proud to issue in late February titled Deadline: A Tribute to William E. Wallace. A collection of short stories written in tribute to William by authors who worked or have been supported William’s reviews and promotional efforts on his blogs. It will be edited by Chris Rhatigan, who also published works by William, and artist/writer James R. Tuck Jr., who will provide the cover work for the anthology. The line up is still evolving, but will include the works of:
  • Patricia Abbott
  • Scott Adlerberg
  • Elaine Ash
  • Greg Barth
  • Eric Beetner
  • Paul Brazill
  • Sarah M. Chen
  • Alec Cizak
  • Joe Clifford
  • Jen Conley
  • Sean Craven
  • Nick Kolakowski
  • Preston Lang
  • S. W. Lauden
  • Sean Lynch
  • Cathleen McCarthy
  • Todd Morr
  • Brian Panowich
  • Gary Phillips
  • Renee Pickup
  • Rob Pierce
  • Tom Pitts
  • Eryk Pruitt
  • Travis Richardson
  • Ryan Sayles
  • Will Viharo

So pick up a book (or two) today. And I hope you’ll come back as we announce more about 2018 and the Deadlines anthology.


From the Hip – Nick Kolakowski

Hola Honeys!

That’s what I’m calling all of you now. Yes, it’s terrible and yes you all deserve it. You know exactly what you did and where.

So, in keeping with my rigid and concise schedule, we’ve got another FROM THE HIP for you with Shotgun Honey’s very own Nick Kolakowski. He’s got a corker of a novella, A BRUTAL BUNCH OF HEARTBROKEN SAPS, out and it certainly needs your love, clicks, and lamentations.

If you dig the novella, you’ll also love Nick’s short fiction. He just happens to have a collection out by the name of SOMEBODY’S TRYING TO KILL ME and it’s pretty damn fantastic. I highly recommend scooping it up as soon as you can.

On to the ranting!

Our chat took place on 5/10/2017 and of course, light editing may apply. Blah blah blah blah. Something, something. I read the book months ago and blah blah blah.

ANGEL (characteristically 100% on time to an 8:30PM chat at 9:00PM): I’m finally here (kids were being cute/not sleepy)

NICK: Sweet.

ANGEL: So, to keep Ron on his toes, I decided to do these things very off the cuff. It allows for cursing and all that fun stuff. That said, how about you tell me about A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps before I go off the path.

NICK: A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps is about a dude who decides that he’s going to change careers. The only problem is, he’s a slick New York hustler whose idea of “changing careers” is ripping off his very scary bosses, dumping his equally scary assassin girlfriend, and driving West with a bag full of cash.

To say that things get messy is a bit of an understatement. But I was also going for pitch-black humor, as well.

Because why shouldn’t a severed finger be hilarious?

ANGEL: It is hilarious! And so is the book. I was impressed with its pace. I tend to be a fast reader but I tore through it and I didn’t find myself feeling as if I should scan a few paragraphs here and there. The word economy and narrative were well-balanced.

Which is something I know both of us tend to know a little something about.

So, full disclosure to anyone reading and not knowledgeable: you and I are label-mates AND editors here at Shotgun Honey.

WE’VE ENTRENCHED OURSELVES WELL AND SHALL REAP ALL BENEFITS…

Anyway…

You can do flash – and well. What draws you to shorter form?

NICK: My short attention span. No, seriously, I get distracted easily. Blame it on a lifetime of guzzling down pop culture, but I have a very hard time with ultra-long narratives. It’s not that I can’t follow the plot, but right around page 300 or so I struggle to maintain my inner momentum. There are exceptions — I tore through The Cartel by Don Winslow, and I’ll zip right through anything by Neal Stephenson — but my intellectual metabolism is geared toward short.

Plus I like the punch that shorter fiction delivers. If it’s done right, it’s like a really good standup joke, hitting you viscerally.

And if it’s done badly, at least you’ve only burned a few minutes or hours, as opposed to days of your life.

ANGEL: I’m exactly the same way. The Cartel, House of Leaves, Lincoln in The Bardo – if it’s a damn good book, I don’t care how many pages. BUT if it’s the typical filler fare, it drives me insane. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve read where I feel as if it would have been better as a novella or a short story.

That last point you made about wasting minutes/hours. You think we can flip that too? Part of the appeal of flash to me is the ability to fail spectacularly. I can land on my face with a piece and not weep. What are your thoughts there?

NICK: Yes! Flash fiction is a great laboratory for testing concepts. You might produce the literary equivalent of an eight-legged dog that spits acid and eats your lab assistant, but you could also create something beautiful… and because you know you’re not burning tons of time, you can be more playful. I’ve written short stories — and I’m sure you have, too — that basically served as prototypes for much longer stuff.

That’s not to say a Hellbeast with Eight Legs can’t be beautiful. I’d love that fucker. I’d sic it on my neighbors when they start blasting obnoxious music at midnight.

It’s easy to spend 700 words on a bank robbery. But it’s more interesting to try and flip it. You did that once, with that crazy story about the clowns knocking the place off…

ANGEL: Hey, clowns make anything either dumber or scary. I figure not enough dumb is out there, so I went for broke.

My Dad got me into noir in a big way when I was a kid. He gave me the Raymond Chandler novels, and Hammett’s Red Harvest, when I was at a very impressionable age. We also saw a lot of crime flicks — not just the classics with Cagney and so on, but also whatever was coming out at the time, like Heat. My love was exclusively for noir and grit, though; I was never a fan of Christie and traditional murder mysteries, with the exception of Doyle and Sherlock Holmes.

NICK: That’s not to knock those books where the little old lady solves the mystery of the priest killed by the lawn gnome, but it was never my speed. I related to noir anti-heroes’ sarcasm, and their toughness.

The fact is, most crime isn’t well thought-out. The majority of criminals are dumb as a bag of hammers. I’ve always had a hard time believing intricate murder plots that hinge on arcane solutions.

But noir captures that idiocy and horror.

ANGEL: I tend to look at the more traditional, toothless work as being more like fantasy? That’ll probably piss some folks off, but I’m not knocking. All writing takes skill to put together but noir, like you said – that grit and idiocy? I’ve never met a criminal that wasn’t a complete idiot. Clever? Capable of problem solving? Sure. Actually intelligent enough to keep their shit together long enough to NOT have to stick someone up for fresh kicks at a 6:30 AM Nike release? Nope.

And those stories are so much interesting!

NICK: Idiocy is undervalued as a character trait. It’s no fun to read a heist novel where everything goes right; you want everything to go wrong. I’m proud to say that every character in “A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps” isn’t nearly as smart as they think they are, especially the two characters who absolutely, positively think they’re the smartest motherfuckers in any given room.

I feel like you can write genuine intelligence if you make it a chess match. For example, Heat: two people who are geniuses at their professions, on a collision course. The end-game kicks in when one decides to do something idiotic.

But most people aren’t Michael Mann.

ANGEL: That’s honestly one of my biggest gripes with modern crime fiction. A lot of writers LOVE making their characters super effective at something and while, sure, that can be interesting, it starts to feel tired.

And like you said, most folks ain’t Mann, or a Ted Lewis, or the other folks who can make some of the old tropes sing.

So where do you think we go from there? We’ve got some indie labels producing some cool stuff – ours included – is this the future of the genre? Of publishing? I know you’re a bit of a techie. Are the signs there?

NICK: I’d like to think so. Until a couple years ago, the traditional publishers were a hell of a bottleneck to new voices getting out there. Indie labels have been great about letting those authors sing, but it’s a hard road ahead nonetheless — a label can produce fantastic work and still fold. That being said, I think all the pieces are in place; what we need now is for a couple of indie books to break into the mainstream.

And “mainstream” comes with its own risks, of course. But people are clearly interested in fresh takes on noir — look at the popularity of Fargo, or True Detective. In theory, there’s nothing to stop literary noir from catching serious fire.

ANGEL: I don’t think being saddled with my least favorite genre tag ever, neo-noir, helps. That may be a chip on my shoulder, though. I don’t mind taking inspiration from the history, but bowing down to it irks me to high hell.

So what’s next, man? Will we see this ridiculous crew from Brutal Bunch again or do you have anything else in the plans?

NICK: The Bunch — minus some bits and pieces — are coming back in the next novella, Slaughterhouse Blues, which is launching in 2018. The lunacy rolls to Nicaragua and Cuba before heading back to New York. I’m excited about it because I spent some time in Central America for work, and this is the first time I’ve been able to deploy a lot of what I saw there in a fictionalized setting. I’m also writing the third book in the series, which might be the hardest of them all because I’m trying to have it take place in one location, like Die Hard.

ANGEL: I totally have a Die Hard concept in my file. I think it’s impossible for anyone our age not to. I’m looking forward to that. Single location stories are a bear!

NICK: Plus I have to resist the urge to have the characters make bad Bruce Willis jokes.

ANGEL: INDEED. Well, dude. I think we can call it quits. A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps is dropping May 12th (there are more than likely MANY links scattered on this page. Best of luck with this one, man. I loved it and I really think a lot of folks are going to dig the hell out of it too!

NICK: Thanks, man! This was fun. Good luck with the next Blacky, too. You’re up next!

ANGEL: Thanks for dealing with my flaky, flaky planning! And yes, new Blacky! It’s all coming up Milhouse, man.


Dodging Bullets: We’ve Got You Covered Blacky!

Welcome to the relaunch of Dodging Bullets where I will talk shop about all things Shotgun Honey related, plus a few odd and ends that I find interesting.

What do I find interesting this week? Shotgun Honey turns 6 years old this month and we still churns out some of the best crime flash fiction on the web. That wouldn’t be possible without the editors who read stories good and bad seven days a week as they flow through our submissions manager.

Kent Gowran, Sabrina Ogden and I started the gauntlet back in 2011, and it was a solid format for selecting the best stories and to guide those that were good to be better. Those early selections lead to our replacement editors in Chad Rohrbacher, Christopher Irvin, Erik Arneson, Joe Myers, Angel Colón, Nick Kolakowski and Jen Conley. Jen really deserves a medal. Not only is she a great writer, but an outstanding teacher, and she has been part of the gauntlet longer than any other editor. I really can’t thank any of them enough for being part of Shotgun Honey.

If you are looking for an incredible collection of stories, I highly recommend Cannibals by Jen Conley from our publishing partner Down & Out Books.

Speaking of books, I have a lot of books to talk about. First off, just look at the cover for Blacky Jaguar Against the Cool Clux Cult by Angle Luis Colón. Click the cover. Purdy isn’t it? It is the long awaited follow up to The Fury of Blacky Jaguar, and the second book in the Song of Piss & Vinegar series, originally published in 2015 and to be re-issued later this month. Keep an eye out for One Eye Press re-releases over the next few weeks. If you missed them the first time, you’ll get a chance to pick them up again.

Like Federales by Christopher Irvin which will be available next Friday with a brand new cover. Click it. I know you want to.

2017 will be a year of new books, 7 in total, and re-issues, 6 or 7 as well, and a possibly a couple bonus books. And 2018, wow, I can’t wait to share what we’re hoping to do then. I’m excited, but let’s look at the new books in a nutshell.

  • Hardway by Hector Acosta (2/17/2017)
  • The Place of Refuge by Albert Tucher (3/31/2017)
  • A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps by Nick Kolakowski (5/12/2017)
  • Blacky Jaguar Against the Cool Clux Cult by Angel Luis Colón (6/23/2017)
  • Les Cannibales by DeLeon DeMicoli (8/4/2017)
  • Dead Clown Blues by R. Daniel Lester (9/16/2017)
  • Knuckledragger by Rusty Barnes (10/27/2017)

I call them my sexy seven because you know you want them. You did pick up The Place of Refuge last week? It’s not like you’re going to make it to Hawaii on your own, so why not read about it as Detective Coutinho tracks down a serial killer on the Big Island? Need more convincing? Read some more about Albert Tucher and the The Place of Refuge:

Show your support for Shotgun Honey authors by buying a book today. And if you can’t swing a book, be sure to read our weekly flash fiction offerings and leave the authors a comment. A little praise is invaluable.

In Case You Missed It

A Jump In the Dark by James Pate

That summer, Paul and Suzie would drink during the day, watching old movies on TCM and talking about their favorite actors and directors. And they would drink at night, having a few Jim Beam-and-cokes before stumbling out to The Lampshade, the bar a few blocks from their gray-brick duplex. Paul had lost his job as a cashier months before, when the manager of the Kroger’s near downtown Memphis caught him sipping tequila from his thermos. Suzie had been out of work even longer.

Read More

Fame by Michael Snyder

For as long as I can remember, all I ever wanted was to be famous. It was not a whim or passing fancy. There was no special talent I was pursuing. It’s not like I wanted to be great at something. I just wanted people to whisper and point when I walked into a room. I wanted them all to want a piece of me, to want to be near me, to want to be me.

Read More

And the story that started it all on April 6, 2011…

Two-Phones by Daniel B. O’Shea

Smart-ass in front of Slim in the security queue at Midway couldn’t keep his mouth shut, guy dumping his shit in the plastic box, two fucking cell phones and a PDA coming off his belt like he was Batman or something, a fat money clip with a Franklin on the outside.

Read More

We are always open to submissions. So if you want to be like one of the folks mentioned above, hit us up at the Submissions Manager.

Until next time, all the best.


From the Hip – Alex Segura

Hey folks!

So, an experiment – sort of, not like this hasn’t been done before. Though, I wanted to start an author Q&A series that wasn’t so ‘canned’, something where writers can shoot the shit while giving them the room to talk about whatever they’re pimping OR whatever strikes their fancy.

For the first installment of what I’m calling FROM THE HIP, we’ve got Alex Segura, the author of the Pete Fernandez series of books and a slew of awesome Archie comics. His latest, DANGEROUS ENDS, is dropping April 11th, 2017 from Polis Books, so I decided to use him as guinea pig and try my best to throw him off his game.

Our chat took place on 2/8/2017 – there’s been some light editing to improve the flow of conversation and to cover up Alex’s shocking opinion about pre-fab flooring.

ANGEL: So, to reiterate, loose convo. This is going on Shotgun Honey, so we know our audience. They’re fucking degenerates.

ALEX: Keep it CASUAL

ANGEL: EXACTLY. You ready for the snowstorm coming our way? Do you have French Toast reserves?

ALEX: I’m hoping it snows so I don’t have to drive to work! How about you guys?

ANGEL: Kids already got cancelled school and my job is cool with working from home, so we’re pretty much stuck at home the next two days.

ALEX: Not bad! G is turning one soon, so Eva’s running around prepping for a family thing this weekend

ANGEL: The big 1! That’s on Valentine’s Day, no?

ALEX: Yeah! Crazy! Valentine’s Day will never be the same

ANGEL: It’s an awesome time. Hell, we’re both going through the same stuff; Kid 2 is just a month older.

ALEX: We need to get them together again

ANGEL: I WILL TALK TO THE WIFE

ALEX: YEAH…Same here

ANGEL: For real, I have no idea what’s going on at all without her. So….WRITING

ALEX: OK!

ANGEL: You’ve been busy, dude. About a year, two books out with Polis, Archie Meets Ramones, ANOTHER Archie book and Pete Book 3!

You ready to take a breath?

ALEX: Not yet! Yeah, it’s been busy – but good. It’s like I’m working on two tracks, which is fun and keeps my brain clicking.

On one hand, I’m writing fun, all-ages comic book stuff, which is what first got me hooked on comics and reading, and on the other, I’m telling these really dark crime stories set in my hometown.

I can’t believe DANGEROUS ENDS is my third. It hasn’t really clicked in yet.

The comics happen faster – you write a script, then you start seeing artwork and before you know it, it’s on the stands

Novels are a much slower, more thoughtful process

ANGEL: I’m excited about this next one, Dangerous Ends. Having read it in an earlier state (VIP, YO) I really enjoyed the link to Cuban history. Pretty timely too! I never assume that folks pull directly from their family history, but is it safe to assume that here?

ALEX: Yeah, for sure. And I’m glad you got to read it early. Don’t worry, you’re duly thanked in the back! (Spoiler alert). The Cuba flashbacks sprung out of a conversation with my aunt one day. We were at a family gathering and Cuba came up, as it does, and she said there were a lot of family stories that I didn’t know and that she’d have to share with me sometime. Well, I couldn’t wait, so while everyone else is having a jolly good time I’m huddled with her talking about Castro, how our family got out of Cuba and the challenges a lot of them faces. It really made me want to paint a picture of Pete’s family.

But I also knew I didn’t want to just steal stories from my family’s past and switch names. I did a lot of research, about Cuba and Cuba-US relations and where the country was before Castro took power.

But that was fun research, and the kind of stuff I could do while still writing.

I also knew that I wanted the mystery from the past had to intersect with whatever Pete was investigating in the present, and at the end he had to leave the book changed and have some progression as a character.

I didn’t want him or his friends to be static.

ANGEL: I got a firm sense of that underlying tension and rage that is sort of a burden for a lo of Cuban Americans to bear. Did that inform how you wrote the flashbacks? Was it difficult to find a balance? Not to say Castro’s sins should be looked at objectively, but how do you pull back when trying to tell the story as it happened?

And to add a little perspective, I grew up with a lot of dudes who were first gen. Getting stories about their parents coming on the boats in the late 70’s / early 80’s. All different, but hell if that general mood is the same. It’s dark and hopeful.

ALEX: I tried to be objective in my research and how I presented what was going on, but I also used specific POVs, so you’re inherently biased. The first flashback is told from the perspective of Pete’s grandfather, a government official who’s at odds with the new regime. So, you’re already starting from slanted view.

But I did try to show some balance and not make it seem black and white, because it isn’t. We’re all human and even if you’re for the good guys, you can make mistakes and sometimes get corrupted by power or money or whatever.

The challenge was to show the Cuba parts accurately but also write a compelling mystery while still propelling the present narrative forward, which was tricky but I think it paid off.

And Pete, like me and many guys or ladies my age, isn’t immersed in the exile story. I mean, I grew up hearing stories about Cuba and it was ever-present, but I didn’t go there or visit, so my connection to the island was very cerebral. It’s the same for Pete. So I wanted to give readers a sense of what his connection is without literally taking him there.

ANGEL: And it’s all so timely. Over the past year, I think a lot of us have forgotten how shook up Cuba’s been. Did that help to inform any changes/edits for the book?

ALEX: The changes for Cuba happened as I was finishing up a polish of the draft, so I tried my best to keep the book as timely as possible. When I first wrote it, Castro was still alive, for example. So, on revision, there’s a mention of his death. Things like that. A lot of the heavy plot lifting had been done, but I wanted to interject as much about current events as I could. There’s mention of the softening relations and the loosening of travel restrictions, and it gives readers a chance to peek into Pete’s head and see what his take on all of it is.

ANGEL: Would you take a trip out there if you could?

ALEX: You know, this came up recently – as in, a literal invite to go, expenses paid. And I couldn’t do it. Not until the Castros – plural – are gone and no longer in power and an actual democracy is in place. I just can’t bring myself to know that my money is going into their pockets. It’s a simple view, I know, but sometimes we can only work in broad strokes.

I’d love to see the country, explore, visit the house where my parents grew up and so on, but I also know how desperately my family struggled to leave Cuba while Castro was in power, so I don’t think it’d be respectful of me to take a pleasure cruise now because it’s easy or convenient.

ANGEL: That makes sense. With all that history (mostly negative) I can see it being difficult to just dump money into the pockets of bastards.

ALEX: Right. And Raul Castro is not an innocent. Not Being Fidel doesn’t exonerate you.

ANGEL: And speaking from parallel experience with my own Caribbean roots, it’s not easy to see the places you come from – especially when it’s pretty much 3rd world.

ALEX: Right. I can’t expect the picture I saw, from the 60s, to be reflected today. I definitely want to experience it at some point, though, but I also have to know when the time is right.

This isn’t a diss on anyone who goes to Cuba. We all have to make our choices and I know people have close family there. I have some distant cousins and other distant relatives, so the urgency for human reasons doesn’t exist. But I can understand that.

ANGEL: THIS IS A HAPPY CONVO – Way to make a political book.

ALEX: CHEERFUL EVEN

It’s funny, because when I set out to write it, I was in a very Ellroy state of mind, but the book became something else.

Which is what you want, I think.

ANGEL: I meant to ask you, especially in light of Pete’s musical tastes AND your work with Archie. You’re obviously a big music guy, but what’s YOUR background. Were you in a band? Play an instrument? Become a master of triangle?

Also, I’ve been drinking – SURPRISE

ALEX: Ha! I am a triangle guru! Drink up, pal

Yeah, I’ve always loved music. I was in a few bands in Miami, though bands might be a stretch – we never played shows. But we had fun, wrote songs, practiced a lot. I was in a few bands in NY, most recently a group called Faulkner Detectives. We put out an EP and played a handful of gigs in and around NYC. The band is on a bit of a hiatus – kids, jobs, life – but we’ve talked about playing again. I loved being in a band and I really think songwriting is a helpful tool for any writer, so’s poetry. Learning to be compact with your words, and being able to tap into a feeling instead of just mechanically moving from plot point to plot point is important and not easy to teach.

Songwriting is unique in that you have to paint a picture or tell a story with a few words or lines and then support those words with a musical backdrop. It’s a fun challenge, and I think songwriting helped my prose and vice versa. Same with comics.

ANGEL: Shot in the dark – bassist?

ALEX: No! But the bass was my first instrument when I was a teenager. Then I discovered I wanted to write songs, so I needed a guitar. I played guitar and sang some songs in the last band.

ANGEL: Nice. I could never nail guitar down, so I played bass for a while and gave up. It’s been almost 20 years since I touched one that wasn’t a Rock Band instrument.

ALEX: I haven’t played much lately, either. It’s tough. One thing having a kid does is it makes you really focus your time across the board. I play guitar with the kid sometimes and that’s fun, but it’s been a while since I sat down and tried to write a song.

ANGEL: I play conga occasionally.

ALEX: Moog?

ANGEL: Nope, straight up LPs – donkey skin and all.

ALEX: Hardcore

ANGEL: So what’s next? You’ve got that special coming soon that focuses on The Archies (is that the current Waid canon?) and then what?

ALEX: Yeah, THE ARCHIES is in the updated Archie-verse, which is cool. That’s the first time I’ve worked there and it’s been a blast. I’m co-writing it with Matt Rosenberg. We wrote ARCHIE MEETS RAMONES, and it’s drawn by Joe Eisma, who was the artist on the main ARCHIE title, which is neat.

After that, I have some ideas (and about 50k words) for another Pete book or two, I’m working on this weird, horror/thriller thing that wouldn’t leave my brain and I have a few other comic book things in various stages.

I’m also pecking away at a few short stories I need to finish for anthologies and such.

ANGEL: The new Archie stuff has been a ton of fun. I still need to check out Riverdale. Chances are high now that wifey and I are done with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

ALEX: It’s a funny show! Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, I mean. Riverdale can be funny, but it’s surprisingly noir and stylish, so I think you guys will dig it.

ANGEL: So you’re working on next steps for Pete. You’ve had the dude go through the ringer, alcoholism, death of loved ones, massive betrayals. What else can you do to this poor bastard?

ALEX: Man, I don’t know. I joke and say “Poor Pete” all the time when promoting the book, but it’s true – he’s been through a lot of shit. I knew, going into the writing of DOWN THE DARKEST STREET, the second book, that I wanted it to be, well, dark. I wanted it to really bring him to his knees, not only in terms of the mystery but his own personal demons. For DANGEROUS ENDS, I wanted to show him having progressed, at least in terms of his alcoholism but also his experience level. The Pete we meet in DANGEROUS ENDS knows the basic of what he’s doing. But I also didn’t want it to feel like “Pete Case #453,” y’know? So there had to be personal stakes for him. Each Pete book works on two levels for me – it’s about The Case, and The Mystery – but it’s also about Pete and his quest to not only be a better detective, but a better person. And that, as we all know, involves a lot of missteps and pitfalls. It’s not a straight line.

DANGEROUS ENDS, without spoiling too much, leaves Pete in a completely new situation/status quo, and I’m excited to explore that. I never want a book in the series to feel like it doesn’t matter or like it’s a holding pattern.

Which is tough, because then I think your series becomes finite, automatically

You can only pull the guy through the fire so many times.

When I finished the book, I figured we were in a good place to try something a little off the path he’s been on. Still, things should blow up again – explosions are cool.

Yeah, it sets Pete off on a new path, which I think is good, and it’ll keep readers (and me) on their toes. It opens up new story possibilities.

ANGEL: But there will be explosions, right?

ALEX: For sure. Lots of them.

ANGEL: Holding you to that.

ALEX: For a series, though, it’s tough because you have an inherent expectation, but you also want to keep yourself interested as the writer.

BOOM BOOM

ANGEL: Absolutely. I get that. I’m not the hugest fan of the IDEA of writing a series? On a personal level. If I can pull it off, sure, but like you said with Pete, there has to be a place where you can surprise yourself, right?

ALEX: It’s a cliché, but I believe it because it’s what I do: I write the book I want to read. I wanted to read a detective series that really featured Miami as the setting. I wanted to read about a PI who maybe wasn’t super-great at his job. It didn’t exist, so I wrote it.

That applies to the other books, too. I wanted to read a serial killer book that was a little different. So that’s what I wrote. I wanted a wider-screen look at the Cuban exile experience wrapped in a nice mystery/thriller packaging. It’s more instinctual at first – like, what am I interested in the moment? What stories get me jazzed? – but you see it in your rearview as you move on to the next thing. Oh, OK. That’s what I wanted to write.

ANGEL: I think you’ve nailed it and I think folks are going to be surprised with Book 3, Dangerous Ends is really enjoyable.

Thanks man! I’m glad you liked it. This was a challenging book to write but also the most fulfilling.

ANGEL: So beyond self-promotion (selfish bastard), what have you been reading/hearing/watching/eating/whatevering?

ALEX: Great question. In terms of mystery novels, I really dug Reed Farrel Coleman’s WHAT YOU BREAK, the sequel to his Edgar-nominated WHERE IT HURTS. I love the Moe Prager books, and when Reed announced his deal to do the Jesse Stone novels, the bit that jumped out at me most was the fact that he’d be starting a new series. Gus Murphy is a great, flawed protagonist and Reed just makes it look easy. I’ve been on a big Stephen King kick lately, which might be due to all the insanity happening in the world. Who would have thought that reading about killer clowns, worldwide plagues and crazy, rabid dogs would be soothing in comparison to The World Today, but it has…

ANGEL: Where It Hurts was fucking great. I need to pick up What You Break.

ALEX: In terms of TV, I finally got around to watching The Night Of, which I thought was great. But aside from that, we’ve been on a fairly disciplined West Wing re-watch. Babies also prevent you from having lots of TV time. So does novel-writing.

In terms of comics I’ll buy anything by Brubaker/Phillips, Rucka, Fraction, Snyder, Lapham, DeConnick…the list goes on. I was doing a fairly epic Uncanny X-Men/Claremont re-read, too, but that tapered off when the team got to Australia.

Also big shot out to Azzarello and Risso’s new one, MOONSHINE. Great supernatural noir shout out

ANGEL: With X-Men, Wasn’t that whole Siege Perilous thing?

ALEX: Yyyyeeaaaah

ANGEL: BLECH

ALEX: It’s not bad, per se, it just lost me and I wasn’t sure I was ready to go through it (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?) again.

ANGEL: WELL DONE

ALEX: It did make me want to revisit the Simonson run on X-Factor and the Sienkiewicz New Mutants stuff, so that’s good.

You know, in all my free time.

ANGEL: Alex, speaking of children, terrible Claremont runs, and my drinking, I’m gonna break here and thank you for letting me run this little experiment.

ALEX: Thanks for having me! This was fun.

ANGEL: WE’RE CUTTING EDGE AT SHOTGUN HONEY

ALEX: NICE WORK ANGEL – Thanks a lot, seriously!

ANGEL: No doubt! Good luck with Snowmaggedon and we will set up baby playdate. NOIR AF

ALEX: yes! Soon! GOOD NIGHT!


Shotgun Honey Joins Down & Out Books

Today Shotgun Honey is thrilled to announce a new partnership with Eric Campbell and Down & Out Books (downandoutbooks.com), an independent publisher of literary  and crime fiction. Shotgun Honey joins the Tampa, FL based company as a new imprint focused primarily on short length crime fiction: collected short stories, novellas and short length novels.

Shotgun Honey has a history of bringing quality flash crime fiction to the web, and in 2013  the online magazine expanded slowly into print and digital publishing under the One Eye Press masthead. We believe our books have been well produced and well received, but our lack of marketing and reach have limited our full potential. The experience that Down & Out Books brings is invaluable and will be a tremendous asset to the Shotgun Honey Imprint, not to mention the additional production resources.

In February 2017, Hardway by Hector Acosta will be the first release under the new imprint, with 6 additional books scheduled for 2017. Among those are The Place of Refuge by Albert Tucher, A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps by Nick Kolakowski, and Blacky Jaguar Against to Cool Clux Cult by Angel Luis Colón.

Aside from the new releases, the majority of our previous publications will be released as second editions under the new imprint, with some including expanded content and new covers. This will mean that these books will be temporarily unavailable until their new releases are complete as all current One Eye Press releases will become unavailable as of January 1, 2017.

Shotgun Honey is looking forward to 2017 and working with our new partner Down & Out Books, as well as our sister imprint ABC Group Documentation headed by Jeremy Stabile.

For more information about the company and its books, or to request an interview with the Eric Campbell or Ron Earl Phillips, contact lance@downandoutbooks.com.


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.