New Release: The Last Danger

Shotgun Honey, in association with Down & Out Books, is pleased to release The Last Danger by Rusty Barnes. This follows up the 2017 release Ridgerunner, and and concludes the harrowing tale of Matt Rider, one time wildlife conservation officer turned infamous “Killer Matt.”

Catch Up for Only 99 Cents

If you haven’t read Ridgerunner, now is the time to catch up for The Last Danger. For a limited time, you can get a digital copy of Ridgerunner for only 99 cents from your favorite e-book providers.

The Last Danger
Book 2 of a Killer in the Hills
Book 1 of a Killer in the Hills

Killer Matt Returns

Three months after a shootout with the renegade Pittman family robbed him of his brother, Matt Rider is trying to put his life back together. His wounds are many, his sworn enemy Soldier Pittman may wake up and begin to tell what he knows, his wife is on the knife edge of sanity, and his teen daughter has gone missing with the son of his sworn enemy.

In a whirlwind series of killings, thefts and rash decisions, Rider ends up muling drugs across the Canadian border for the Pittman family in order to save his daughter and wife from an even worse fate, even as he betrays them. Rider must choose between what is best for his conscience and what his sometimes murderous instincts tell him: kill them all.

About Rusty Barnes

Rusty Barnes is a 2018 Derringer finalist and author of the story collections Breaking it Down (Sunnyoutside Press 2007) and Mostly Redneck (Sunnyoutside Press 2011), as well as four novels, Reckoning (Sunnyoutside Press, 2014), Ridgerunner (Shotgun Honey/Down & Out Books, 2017), Knuckledragger (Shotgun Honey/Down & Out Books 2017) and The Last Danger (Shotgun Honey/Down & Out Books 2018), His fiction, poetry and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in many journals and anthologies like Dirty Boulevard: Crime Stories Inspired by the Songs of Lou Reed (Down & Out Books 2018), Best Small Fictions 2015, Switchblade, Mystery Tribune, Goliad Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Red Rock Review, Porter Gulch Review and Post Road.

Asphalt Angel

Jessie lay down in the center of the asphalt, body across the double yellow. “Fuck it,” she said. “I’m done running.” Jessie and I are hard at it. We blew up the Chickenman in Philly last night. Or rather, we robbed Dandy Marts in three townships and got away clean. Jessie’s been dropping Adderall almost religiously since before the first robbery, and I haven’t been far behind her. I feel as if I can see her heart fluttering under the white T-shirt she’s wearing, but that’s just the drug making sure I’m paying attention.

“We haven’t run anywhere yet, though. We’re still in the county. We need to get the fuck out,” I said. We got a total of eight hundred seventy-five at the three stores, lucky enough to catch two tills at once–shift change– in the second place, and finished off by nabbing a hundred at the last one, plus supplies. Mountain Dew and cigarettes. “Jessie,” I said. “Come on.”

We’re hiding out in the open. After we got the cash, we ran the truck into the bushes somewhere in Mt. Pocono and took our mountain bikes out of the back. With helmets strapped on and the cash in a fanny pack, we looked like any other fitness freak couple, riding down route 611, easy as you please. Near Tannersville on Cherry Lane, we had to heist up out of our seats to make the steep climb, and then we were on the downside, and Jessie wouldn’t get out of the fucking road. She moved her arms and legs back and forth, giggling. “Look, I’m making an asphalt angel.”

“Get out of the road. You’re going to get squashed.”

“I can’t believe we got nearly a thousand bucks.” A squirrel ran across the power line. Jessie shot it with her outstretched finger. “Pow,” she said. I walked out into the road and picked her up bodily. She put her arms around my head and I got a strange chemical smell off the crease of her neck. Darkness fell like a dropped coat around us, and cars whooshed by and never saw us sitting just inside the trees lining the road.”I don’t know what these are,” she said, pulling a handful of blue and green capsules out of her fanny pack along with a desiccated tissue. “i think they’re antidepressants, though, so they’ll probably help you with those clenched teeth.” I crunched the capsules and swallowed the powder, and so did Jessie. i washed mine down with soda, and she chased hers with my spit.

Soon enough we were calming, and Jessie decided she wanted to fuck. I didn’t want to, but here we were with drugs mixing in our system and nothing to do until it got a little darker and fewer people might suspect us for thieves. Jessie tossed down her t-shirt as a cushion and we got right to it. She rode me like she never had before, so much that when we broke apart I could see her knobby knees bleeding from contusions, the dark lines running down her calves and onto the shirt.

“Jesus, Jess,” I said.

“Oh wow,” she said. “That was unexpected.” I got off the ground and brushed myself off. I took off my t-shirt and tried to wipe her legs with it, but the wounds had gotten brush and dirt and gravel in them, and she couldn’t very well go without a shirt, so I gave her mine, and we took off. For a woman with bloody knees who had just been fucked six ways from Sunday, she initiated a pace I could barely keep up with.

I noticed the car creeping up to us, lights off, while Jessie ran herself ragged far ahead of me. As the flashers went on I could see the blinking red light on Jessie’s bike getting smaller and dingier in the distance. When the cop told me to stop I was already done. I put my hands on my head, dropped to my knees, sorry for all my painful sins, and no angel to see me in my time of need.

Pecker Problem

Pearly Svine took a dirty middle finger and swiped out his lower lip in the hopes of shoving some Skoal into it. The fingernail-sized tumor there prevented him. Goddamn the goddamn mouth cancer. So he decided to kill Billy Savitch.

This morning, at the Dandi-Mart down the line, Billy had gone on and on. Pearly you’re getting fat Pearly are you even sure you can find your johnson I bet Rita needs a microscope and a set of tweezers. Pearly had to go pick up his lawnmower from the repair shop, so he hadn’t the chance to correct Billy’s mouth. He didn’t figure to come out of it standing, though, so he took his gun off the rack behind the seat and sawed off two inches above the slide. Pearly even took the time to file down the sharp edges, bracing the gun with his foot on the tailgate of his truck. Right there in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Pearly felt his death like a lump in his trousers. Didn’t happen often, so he was determined to make the most of it.

He cranked the CD player with Hank III and took off down the highway as fast as he could given the truck wouldn’t run past third gear. He’d tossed the plug out the window and loaded five shells. The woods didn’t exactly blur by him, given the soggy transmission, but he felt a little wind and that was OK with him.

Billy stood outside his garage pissing against the concrete. Pearly drove right up next to him and let go with the shotgun. The pellets knocked Billy back a little, but Pearly saw quickly he’d need another shot. His prodigious pecker still hanging out, Billy stumbled into his garage, no doubt for a gun, and Pearly got out of the truck, but left it running.

Billy came out with a .45 shooting all over the place with his off hand. Pearly steadied the shotgun and blasted Billy in the chest. He sank in place like a heartshot deer, his pecker draped like a doily over his thigh. Pearly couldn’t believe the size of it–a fucking truncheon, it was. It made him not feel so bad about his 5.25 dick. How could Billy have gotten any, with that thing?

Pearly reached down and turned Billy over, retrieving a can of Copenhagen. It wasn’t Skoal, but it would do. Pearly thought about all those times he’d wished for a bigger pecker. He tucked the chew into his lip, slobbering a little. It just goes to show you, he thought. Some men have all the luck. And some don’t.