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Greg Bardsley

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Sex, thugs and me

Last Friday I took the family to the local bookstore for a triumphant little moment.51hq6hm6vql__ss500_1

I was coming to pick up my copy of Sex, Thugs and Rock & Roll, the new Thuglit anthology that includes my story, “Big Load of Trouble,” alongside those by Changa buddies Anthony Neil Smith, Jed Ayres, Jordan Harper and Patti Abbott. It also includes pieces by some very admired crime authors — Scott Wolven, Joe R. Lansdale, Marcus Sakey and Jason Starr, to name a few.

Of course, I could have ordered my copy via Amazon, and you surely can HERE. But I wanted the experience of seeing it in a bookstore, buying it in a bookstore, fanning through the pages to find my story — in a bookstore.

And I have to say, I felt pretty damn good. I felt like an average Joe getting called up to the majors for a weekend, and having a blast the entire time.

Then, when I started reading the pieces in this anthology, I got an entirely new rush. This, my friends, is a tight collection of compelling storytelling. Case in point: I re-read “Politoburg” by Ayres and was blown away all over again, and was reminded how my first reading of that piece in Thuglit in 2007 led me to praise it on this blog, which is how I got to know the guy.

I’m not the only one impressed by this anthology. One of the stories was nominated for a prestigious Edgar award, and Publisher’s Weekly recently weighed in with this review.

Robinson’s second anthology derived from the online magazine Thuglit is an improvement over 2008’s Hardcore Hardboiled. Jason Starr gets things off on the right foot with “Double Down,” a short but punchy contemporary PI tale, with an unapologetically amoral main character largely indifferent to the consequences of his greed. Joe R. Lansdale offers perhaps the strongest entry with “Bullets and Fire,” in which the narrator gets accepted into a hardcore urban gang by punching out a little girl, for reasons that only become apparent in the denouement. An ex-con’s despair over his estranged grown daughter drives Marcus Sakey’s “The Days When You Were Anything Else,” which ends with a twist that’s no less powerful for being predictable. While not every selection is top-notch, this volume also showcases a number of lesser-known authors who will undoubtedly be heard from more in the future. Sarah Weinman’s introduction extols the virtues of online publication. (June) — Publisher’s Weekly

So …. maybe you’d like to have a little Sex, Thugs and Rock & Roll in your life.

Dude ….

Dude …

Dude ….

Very … very cool.

Ayres alerted me to the recently unveiled cover for “Sex, Thugs and Rock & Roll,” the second anthology of crime stories produced by Thuglit and Kensington Books. This edition happens to include my piece, “Big Load of Trouble,” and a great story by Ayres (“Politoburg”). We’re the what the cover refers to as “Others” — and damn proud of it.

Love the cover design. Can’t wait to see this one drop, come May 26 — in bookstores, on Amazon and elsewhere. … I tip my hat to you, Todd Robinson, you frickin’ badass.

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