Back With a Vengeance,
Yea, I know what you’re thinking. It’s like, different around here. Or if this is the first time you’ve visited This Desperate City (affectionately called TDC ‘round these parts) you’re thinking, seems cool, but, I don’t think I get it. Yes, it is different, and no, you don’t have to worry if you don’t get it.
TDC was initially created (some 4 years ago) to tell interesting stories. Those stories came in the form of webcomics (mainly) and free prose (secondarily). And I didn’t want to stray from that, so in this re-launch first in my mind was, and will always be, telling, spreading, reading, or talking about stories.
But as a career develops, targets switch. And as a writer, or artist, or entertainer, or anyone in the business of people can attest, you initially start firing center mass, but once you’re good enough, you always go for the headshot. The new TDC site is hopefully just that. A more focused, intense, and satisfying experience for the reader (you) as well as the creator (me).
So how different is it? Well. You’re smart, so I have faith you can click around and find out. But I will give some highlights.
Find all of JJ Sinisi’s (that’s me) published works to date, along with a sample to get your mouth watering and an easy to follow link. A LOT of them are free and if you’re a fan of me, or a fan of crime fiction, or a fan of really modest guys doing GREAT work, then you should click through and give them all a site visit. These amazing people support the industry with little recognition and even less appreciation. It’s a thing of wonder so many of them have accepted my work into their publications, and the very least I can do is push, pimp, and prod you all into becoming avid readers of their stuff. Some of the links will bring you straight to Amazon or a buy now site. These are for purchase only items, but don’t be too cheap, the priciest ones top out at less than a cup of coffee, and most for less than a buck. And all of those feature other great talent as well in the same issue.
You like free stuff, right? Sure ya’ do. Under stories you’ll find dirty little tales of desperate men and smart women, or sad babes and evil evil pricks. Or any mixture of the strange and pulpy figures featured in my crime stories. The running novel Great Dame which featured prominently on the old TDC site will also be back soon, though this will be more of an event coupled with some social media tie ins. More on that in the coming year, but for now, we premier with the story The Hardest Men, a mid-century noir piece two parts Bogart, one part Untouchables. Drink it warm, so it doesn’t burn all the way down.
Ah the webcomics. A big part of the old site was the running comic This Desperate City, along with a smattering of one off stories under the Streetlight Stories banner. This Desperate City the webcomic has been shelved for the time being, though the shorter Streetlight Stories are re-linked (and easier to navigate) here. If you’ve read them before, take another look, it’s probably been awhile. If you’re new, these little blasts of crime fiction are just enough to start your day in mean mood. The goal is to expand this section, with more stories by different artists and possibly different writers. As far as when, we’ll call it second on the list.
New posts on any of the above tabs as well as the blog will be announced on the home page, including any new publications or stories.
If you’re a member of G+ or Twitter, throw me a follow (links above) as a lot of blog material will be siphoned through there as well. And finally, if you love my stuff, or want to shoot me some email, or if you really REALLY want to send me more junk mail including penis enhancement, Nigerian Prince contact information, or 45% off a spatula, you’ll find a spanking new email address above, as well as right here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t be afraid to stick around and get your hands a little dirty. It can gritty in here, so I hope you like playing in the mud.
Fighting through the filth,
Two junkie hookers with nothing left to lose attempt to frame their biggest client. Unfortunately for them, someone’s already beat them to it and he’s not ready to share.
“Donny and Rich’s lives ground on in a short cycle of copping, getting high, turning tricks, hiding from the world, then getting sick. Their time was marked by hours, not days.”
It’s not that this book is grimy, though it is. It’s not that its violent, or endearing, or bloody, or wrought with the painful reality of the streets, though it is all of these things.
What Hustle has that a lot in the genre don’t is urgency.
And not the noir urgency of a missing character struggling to stay alive in the hands of a speed-freak killer, or the desperate need to obtain that one last treasure that’ll get a man off the streets for good, (although you guessed it, Hustle has these in spades as well).
The urgency in this tale bubbles from the streets itself, and the addictions buried in the people there. At no point in Pitt’s yarn are we more than a few moments away from the desperate and oppressive need of the next hit, just to get us right, just to get us through the next two hours.
That’s reality on the streets and that’s what makes this novel so compelling. Noir/Crime pieces will always (although don’t have to) spin around the dirty folks skirting the fringes of the law. And some have dark histories and others are getting their hands bloody for the first time, but rarely do we see them so pre-occupied with one singular thought, and even more rarely is this thought a true reflection of reality.
Addiction strangles us at every turn, pressing on our windpipe as Big Rich and Donny turn their tricks with dark men in nice cars just to score some cigarette money, as Bear tries to figure out his next move and how far he should go to save the life of a man who saved his, as Dustin tweaks his way through existence.
It never leaves and just when the countdown hits zero, shakes start, the vomiting and the cramps and the pain, so much pain. It’s not hard to get lost in Hustle’s reverence to addiction, and it’s the book’s most endearing quality. Because in the end, we want Big Rich to be reunited with his chick and their kid, we want Donnie to smarten up and stop getting raped. And most of all, we want Bear to relax on the beers and just settle down with a broad who gets him. But we also know that’s not going to happen. The pull is too strong, the claws too deep. It was always going to end this way, we just needed to see it happen to know for sure.
Tom Pitt’s Hustle gets the reader dirty, sure, but it’s the pain of that dirt, that grit, that makes this small slice of street life so real.
Review by JJS
J. J. Sinisi is a professional out of New York but spends what little free time he has strolling dark alleyways creating crime fiction. His work has appeared at Spelk Fiction, Yellow Mama, Spinetingler Magazine, Near to the Knuckle, Dead Guns Press, All Due Respect, Thuglit, Dark Corners, Shotgun Honey, The Flash Fiction Offensive, Heater, and he received an honorable mention in Glimmer Train’s Family Matters Short Story contest.