A parallel indie lit scene labors beside us, and the cross-traffic ain’t enough to satisfy a muddied-water type like me. I’m talking the people of the night, those unafraid to cozy up to labels such as crime, noir, mystery, slash-and-burn, thug lit, or kill-for-thrill.
The Blake Butler of this shadowy world is Plots with Guns honcho Anthony Neil Smith, a ne’er-do-well graduate of Frederick Barthelme’s storied (and soon-to-be-gone, if the rumors are true) graduate program at Southern Miss, a place where a stripped-down violent prose would likely feel at home. Smith has nurtured plenty of online writers toward the big leagues — notably Scott Wolven, who appeared in six straight editions of Best American Mystery Stories on his way to a deal with Scribner’s, and, more recently Frank Bill, the phenom factory worker from Corydon, Indiana, whose novel Donnybrook is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus, Giroux. (I’ve read it. It’s hot as hell. It’s kin to Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God and Donald Ray Pollock’s Knockemstiff.) READ MORE >