Tuesday, December 12, 2023

The One Per Cent: Tales of the Super Wealthy and Depraved

For some years now, Rock and a Hard Place, based in New Jersey, has been publishing superb crime fiction. It has what you might call a decidedly working class slant, favoring the underdogs in life, the people working hard yet still struggling in a difficult world of economic uncertainty. The magazine comes out regularly, and two years ago, Rock and a Hard Place put out the anthology called Under the Thumb: Stories of Police Oppression. That title alone gives you an idea of where the publication's editors -- led by founders Roger Nokes and Jay Butkowski -- are coming from, and now they have a new anthology they've put out, a collection called, The One Per Cent: Tales of the Super Wealthy and Depraved.

The title explains things clearly enough, but as the editors say about the anthology, "For this volume, featuring 16 stories designed to make your blood boil, we decided to switch up the formula a little bit. Rock and a Hard Place has always been about promoting stories of struggle, to never lose sight of the human being who's at the core of that struggle. In these stories, our writers are skewering the rich, and instead of celebrating humanity, we're lamenting the loss of humanity in pursuit of obscene levels of wealth." 

It all sounds good, but wait! The way most people, or at least a lot of people, will order this book will be through Amazon, which belongs to we-all-know-who, an irony, or paradox, or whatever you want to call it -- a fact of life -- of today's world. No matter: the book remains the book, its merits to be judged not by where you buy it, but by the fiction between its covers. The quality, in the end, is the primary thing that counts. As the editors say, there are 16 stories here, detailing the doings of the rich and vile. Are there people extravagantly rich who are not vile? Of course there are. People are people, no matter their economic station. You just won't find those type of wealthy people in this particular anthology.

The contributors are C.W. Blackwell, Scott Von Doviak, Esther Mubawa, James D.F. Hannah, AD Schweiss, Thomas Trang, Meirav Devash, Eddie McNamarra, Andrew Rucker Jones, Sam Wiebe, Curtis Ippolito, Tim P. Walker, Jesse Lee, Sean Logan, Tom Andes, Steven-Elliot Altman, and Lin Morris.

And the book can be ordered (this is the way of the world) here: The One Percent.

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