Sunday, February 1, 2015

Review: WORM by Anthony Neil Smith

WormFrom the back of the book
In the Bakken oil field of North Dakota, they call the new guys “worms.” Ferret is a worm from Alabama, trying to kickstart a new life for his family, while back home his in-laws whisper break-up songs in his wife Dee Dee’s ear.

His boss, a shadowy old guy called Pancrazio, drags in Ferret, Gene Handy, and two roustabouts from Oklahoma to deal with a new meth empire on the prairie. Meanwhile, a reservation cop keeps a close eye on the big picture.

All Ferret wants is some easy money and the love of his family. But he quickly finds out that there’s danger around every corner, in every drill, truck and train car. 

My Review
Every so often a novel comes along that completely knocks me on my a$$ - in a good way. Last year it was the rural noir A SWOLLEN RED SUN by Matthew McBride (review HERE). This years' early contender is the new oil slick noir WORM by Anthony Neil Smith, a rampant rural roughhouse tale of men who don't take a step back and who's knuckles bare the scars of their livelihood, for in the Bakken oil field any sign of weakness is a target for violence. 

Seriously, Anthony Neil Smith's books should be a staple in any crime fiction aficionado's diet. Especially those who take their fiction black - or in this instance, black gold with a dash of claret. Like the Billy Lafitte books (the latest one being THE BADDEST ASS - an apt title if ever there was one) WORM embraces the violent nature of men in hash predicaments with little to nothing to stimulate them in their downtime. Two vastly different settings, yet the undercurrent of aggression remains omnipresent.  

No one is good. Even Ferret who seems to be a nice guy, a family man, is bloodied and cold blooded by the novels' end while his boss Prancrazio is flat out crazy yet calculated. These characters and more (the Russels for instance) are exceptionally well written and loaded with pure bastardness  (I made up that word but it fits).  

Do yourself a favor fellow crime readers and pick this one up. If you like the darker shade of crime you'll get drunk off this. 

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