Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Dark Retribution: Smitty's Calling Card by B R Stateham

Dark Retribution: Smitty's Calling Card by B R Stateham
Published by Close To The Bone on the 3rd December 2018.

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Smitty's a hit man. A hit man who, sometimes, becomes a dark angel for those select few who are in desperate need. This time a cop needs his help in saving his sister-in-law. A madman is stalking ladies of the night and slaughtering them. No one knows who the madman might be. No clues are left behind. No witnesses are left alive. The police are baffled.

But one cop knows what to do. Sometimes, in defeating Evil, you occasionally have to flirt with the devil. Sometimes, only a killer can find a killer.

Smitty's Calling Card is a noir thriller set in the shadowy streets of a grim American city. I loved how Stateham portrays his chosen locations and appreciated his almost poetic turn of phrase which really brought the scenes to life for me. The novel mostly keeps up a good pace and is peppered with instances of extreme violence so this certainly isn't a book for nervous readers! Smitty himself is an interesting character and I think we will discover more about his past and motivations as this series progresses. I understand Stateham has also already written a number of short stories featuring Smitty.

Unfortunately I was less enamoured with the supporting characters in this story. Women seem only there to be murdered or leched over and one of the main black characters speaks solely in a very dated style of dialect which frequently had me cringing. Smitty's Calling Card does not have good diverse representation! The book also needs proofreading. Numerous odd sentence fragments and wrong homophone choices dragged me out of the gritty atmosphere making it difficult to keep myself focused on the various narrative threads. It's a shame because otherwise Smitty's Calling Card is an entertaining novel in its genre. 

Meet the author

B.R. Stateham is a fourteen-year-old boy trapped in a seventy-year-old body. But his enthusiasm and boyish delight in anything mysterious and/or unknown continue.

Writing novels, especially detectives, is just the avenue of escape which keeps the author’s mind sharp and inquisitive. He’s published a ton of short stories in online magazines like Crooked, Darkest Before the Dawn, Abandoned Towers, Pulp Metal Magazine, Suspense Magazine, Spinetingler Magazine, Near to The Knuckle, A Twist of Noir, Angie’s Diary, Power Burn Flash, and Eastern Standard Crime. He writes both detective/mysteries, as well as science-fiction and fantasy.

In 2008 the first book in the series featuring homicide detectives Turner Hahn and Frank Morales came out, called Murderous Passions.

Also, in 2008 he self-published a fantasy novel entitled, Roland of the High Crags: Evil Arises.

In 2009 he created a character named Smitty. So far twenty-eight short stories and two novellas have been written about this dark eyed, unusually complex hit man.

In 2012 Untreed Reads published book two of the Turner Hahn/Frank Morales series A Taste of Old Revenge.

In 2015 NumberThirteen Press published a Smitty novella entitled, A Killing Kiss.

In 2017 a British indie publisher, Endeavour Media, re-issued A Taste of Old Revenge, and soon followed by a second Turner Hahn/Frank Morales novel entitled, There Are No Innocents.

In 2018 Endeavour Media published a third novel of mine, the first in a 1st Century Roman detective series, entitled While the Emperor Slept.

Also in 2018, NumberThirteen Press merged with another famous British indie, Fahrenheit Press. Soon afterwards, Fahrenheit Press re-issued an old novel of mine entitled, Death of a Young Lieutenant.

Now, after all of this apparent success, you would think Fame and Fortune would have sailed into my harbor, making me the delight of the hard-core genre world. Ah but contraire, mon ami! Fame and Fortune are two devious little wraths who pick and chooses the poor souls they wish to bedevil. I remain in complete anonymity and am just as bereft of fortune as I have always been. And apparently will continue to be for a long time to come.

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  1. An interesting idea for a hit man.

    1. Stateham's got an interesting angle for this character :-)

  2. B.R. Stateham is a fourteen-year-old boy trapped in a seventy-year-old body. ---- I feel the same way. Only a teenage girl trapped in an older body lol

    1. So true! Especially when it's time to drag myself out of bed of a morning!

  3. I don't have much patience these days where woman are there to be drooled at or serve the menfolk! There is too much of that in apocalypse fiction!