Donnybrook: A Novel
When I opened Crimes in Southern Indiana, I literally put the book down after the first page, looked around for a moment just to ground myself, picked it up again and reread the first page. Then I thought, this guy writes killer material. It wasn’t too long after that I set the book on top of my read pile and began scouring the websites looking for more books by Frank Bill. Needless to say, it’s been a year long wait to get my hands on his next offering, Donnybrook.Unlike the first book, a compilation of interrelated short stories, this beauty is the full deal, and no less hard hitting. A novel filled with uncompromising characters and a writing style that will leave you feeling like you’ve gone ten rounds with Mohammed Ali & Mike Tyson in the same ring. The finesse is in the believability and stark writing, using only enough words to draw the scene then in the same breath delivering a knockout punch to the senses.Donnybrook is a three day bare-fisted fighting competition where the last man standing wins a large cash prize. With a thousand dollar entry fee, only the serious need apply, and Jarhead is determined to be the winner of this year’s contest, if only to provide for his family. He secures the entry fee the only way he knows how, by stealing it from a local store, going on the run, avoiding law enforcement and getting caught up in more illegal activities when he tries to play Good Samaritan.Then there is Chainsaw Angus, a legend and previous winner of Donnybrook, unwittingly on his way back while chasing his double-crossing, meth-cooking-assistant sister, and her current beau. He leaves a trail of broken bones, blood, and bodies in his wake, making it easy for others out for their piece of vengeance to follow. What ensues is a Tragedy written on a grand scale with a blow by blow, play by play, ending laid out in words that give the impression you’re viewing it on Blu-ray. Not for the squeamish or faint of heart.I would define it as viscerally harsh: a high-octane caffeine kick infused with steroids, Frank’s delivery is poetical beauty. It’s the withdrawals and long wait for the next offering I’m dreading.