This week, Beau Johnson takes a look at The Hard Bounce from Todd Robinson and Tyrus Books.
In this dynamic hard-boiled quasi-PI novel by Robinson, editor of the crime short fiction webzine Thuglit and its anthologies, the burly William “Boo” Malone, with his bouncer friend Darrell “Junior” McCullough, runs the 4DC Security outfit based out of a Boston blue-collar bar called the Cellar. This friendship goes back to the dysfunctional orphanage where they met after a harrowing incident separated Boo from his family. The two are hired by DA Jack Donnelly to find his missing teenage “hell-on-wheels” daughter, Cassie, but have to stay under the news media’s radar since Donnelly is a mayoral candidate. Trading often funny wisecracks, Boo and Junior tangle with Danny Barnes, Donnelly’s ornery chief troubleshooter, before discovering Cassie has been forced to make snuff porn films. Buried emotions resurface when Donnelly insinuates that if Boo finds Cassie, Donnelly might find Boo’s long-lost sister. Determined to get to the bottom of the snuff-porn ring, Boo survives stakeouts, a beating, a shooting, and a run-in with the local mob boss before he and Junior wrap up their first case, neither tidily nor predictably, leaving enough setup for what may become a sturdy new crime fiction series.