HARD BITE is modern pulp with a paraplegic protagonist and a side kick worthy of a cult following, in Sid, a serial killer monkey. HARD BITE is laced with satire and dark humour likened to other Blasted Heath titles, notably Douglas Lindsay's Barney Thomson series - despite the murderous plot, Anonymous-9 keeps the laughs and lighter moments rolling along. I didn't know whether to cringe when Sid went in for the 'hard bite' or laugh at the overall outlandish concept - great stuff.
Not your typical portrait of a serial killer, Dean Drayhart is wheelchair bound and uses a unique accomplice to carry out his killings. In a twisted way, Dean gets some redemption with every kill of a hit and run driver, slowly accounting for his predicament courtesy of a hit and run which not only caused his loss of movement but also cost him his family.
HARD BITE really comes to the boil when it's discovered one of Drayhart's victims has strong ties to a Mexican drug cartel. Soon he encounters bullets, a scornful mother, and the police in an all out action packed story that's entertaining all the way through.
The characters are superb, from Drayhart and Sid, to Drayhart's nurse Maric Blattlatch and prostitute girlfriend Cinda. Cop Doug provides a glimpse at the police procedural aspect to the hunt while the Mexican drug cartel add an element of noir to this fun pulpy caper.
Anonymous-9, Dave Zeltserman (Julius Katz mystery series), and Duane Swierczynski (Charlie Hardie trilogy) are leading the new era of modern pulp which could well turn into the second coming of the genres golden age. I wonder who's the better sidekick (albeit from opposite sides of the law); Sid from HARD BITE or Archie from JULIUS KATZ AND ARCHIE? Perhaps we need to see more of Sid before deciding.
HARD BITE gets 5 stars for me.
Side note: I love books that have covers relevant to the actual story, not just a cut and pasted images set amongst a generic backdrop. HARD BITE's cover has got to be one of the best this year.