PULP FICTION REVIEWS, MAY 27, 2009

by Ron Fortier

THRESHOLD

What are the odds I’d end up reviewing two books back to back whose protagonist is named Honey? Which is exactly what happened, but be warned, these ladies are about as different as night and day can be. Read on, MacDuff.

This book kicked me in the teeth. It’s an ugly slice of life few of us ever get to see, or want to for that matter. Which is why turning its pages was like sparring with a heavyweight. Every few scenes you get your jaw rocked and your gut punched. It hurts like hell, but once the literary adrenalin starts juicing, there’s no way you are going to stop. Of course the challenge here is to try and tell you what Bonnie Kozek writes like, when it’s damn near impossible. She’s an original. Imagine what kind of hard boiled fiction Mickey Spillane would have given us if he’d been a she? A sassy, angry, tough, twenty-first century dame with a story to tell. That’s Ms. Kozek.

Honey McGuinness grew up with a suicidal mother who wanted to share eternity with her. Only problem is, mom didn’t want to wait until nature ran its course and opted to punch both their tickets by taking a flying leap off a high-rise. She died, Honey lived. Sex, drugs and a little rock and roll, the girl walked on the wild side until it all became home, one she has no intentions of ever leaving.

“… what was I afraid of? I’d ingested, digested, shoved up my ass, and shot into my bloodstream every kind of consciousness-numbing intoxicant, narcotic, and medication known to man – and whatever I missed in my later years my sick-o mother shoved down my throat in the first sixteen. I was experienced, stoned and beautiful.”

When one of Honey’s homeless friends is gunned down in front of her apartment and left to bleed to death, her bleak, comfy world is shattered. Especially when she finds Billy was wired and the machine tape is still on his body. Was he a helpless pawn of the cops? A patsy sent into the drug flooded streets to be sacrificed to the scum? Honey believed her heart had turned to stone long ago but with Billy’s murder, she realizes, much to her own utter disbelief, that she gives a damn. Then she finds an unlikely ally in a goody-two-shoes rookie cop named Skinner. All of which propels Honey on yet another personal voyage through hell to uncover a truth too many powerful people want hidden permanently.

THRESHOLD is a brutal, take-no-prisoners adult thriller that paints a disturbing, factual picture of a culture most Americans will never know. Thank God for that. Whereas the fact that people do live like this is a crime against all mankind. Bravo to Bonnie Kozek for having the guts to write about it. My only question is, why was this book published by a small, unknown publisher? If any book deserved to be a Hard Case Crime title, it’s this one. They just don’t come any meaner.

note: This review was picked up and ran in INDENVER, Arts & Entertainment Section, beginning June 1st, 2009. INDENVER was started by the editors and journalists who lost their jobs when the Rocky Mountain Press closed its doors.
http://www.indenvertimes.com/

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One Response to “PULP FICTION REVIEWS, MAY 27, 2009”

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