Gator Bait by Adam Howe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Fresh from an altercation with a woman's husband that left him missing a couple fingers, "John Smith" scores a job playing piano at a redneck bar, the Grinning Gator, named after a monstrous alligator in a pond out back. But the alligator isn't as dangerous to "John Smith" as the owner's wife...
Gator Bait is a fun little morsel of redneck noir. You've got the abusive husband, the long-suffering wife that wants to be rid of him, and the new guy who just can't keep his penis in his pants. Throw in an alligator pit and you've got something special on your hands.
I've never read an Adam Howe story before but I think I'll be reading them all now. His writing reminds me of Joe Lansdale with a taste of Gil Brewer. My favorite line in the book was when Smitty described a stripper as "Being built for beef or dairy."
Gator Bait felt like an old pulp story that was rediscovered, not something written recently. I mean that as a compliment. It's raw, bloody, and has some great twists. Now that I know what Adam Howe can do with a short story, I'll have to give one of his novels a shot. Four out of five stars.
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