Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Review: "Go Down Hard" by Craig Faustus Buck

We all remember that female singer that made us crazy as adolescent boys. The one that you fantasized about meeting up close in the most intimate and very personal way. Okay, don’t admit it, but I did. I am also not about to say who that was, but I still have all her records. Not CDs like the kids today have, but the old vinyl records. For Nob Brown that certain singer was,  and to a certain extent still is, Lana Strain. Her murder twenty years ago remains an unsolved case.

LAPD Lieutenant Gloria Lopes has decided to give the murder book to Nob in an effort to cheer him up. Nob used to be a cop before he walked away from the job. These days Nob is having a hard time on a variety of fronts including working as a freelance writer. The Lieutenant, who also happens to be his frequent bedroom and anywhere else sexual partner, says that she is giving him the book for six days so that he can do research and just maybe sell a piece on the murder as part of a twenty year retrospective on the stunningly beautiful singer. Considering Nob is known as a true crime writer, as well as any other kind of writing that pays the mounting bills, this temporary gift of the murder book for a legendary cold case that is still a hot bed of publicity just might save him form the financial ruin of his recent divorce.

Lana Strain died when Nob was 17. It rocked his world at the time and the incident still shakes him to the core when he sees the brutality of the crime scene photos. While giving him the murder book for the stated reason of Nob’s being able to sell some writing is one goal, Nob is highly motivated to solve the crime the LAPD has not been able to for all these years.

Twenty years after Lana’s violent death in her home, Nob’s poking around will bring him contact with her family, Russian organized crime, porno peddlers, and more in Go Down Hard by Craig Faustus Buck. It also might get him and everyone he cares about killed as someone works to tie off loose ends uncovered
by his poking into the cold case.

While some reviews have referred to this as a mystery noir spoof, that would imply far more humor and slapstick than there is in the book. Nothing in this hard hitting and often violent book is remotely slapstick. At times graphic in terms of language and descriptions, this is a crime noir style story with an underpinning of sarcasm throughout the read. Nob Brown tends towards the sarcastic in word and action, but when things get dangerous he is prepared to be one hundred percent serious to get the job done.

According to the recent interview with the author on The Rap Skeet Blog this is the start of a new series. That is excellent news and this book was incredibly good. Go Down Hard by Craig Faustus Buck, recently published by Brash Books, is very much worth it and one you should not miss. It is one of those books that, if the award committees and voters in various organizations have any sense next spring, it will be up for quite a few awards.

Go Down Hard
Craig Faustus Buck
Brash Books
May 2015
E-Book (also available in print)
368 Pages

Material supplied by the author in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2015

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