I am a fan of Beat To A Pulp (BTAP). I regularly visit the BTAP website and read the weekly pulp. The anthologies are what I really like though. Particularly the Hardboiled ones. There is something almost primal about some of the stories in them. A simplicity and gritty realism that heightens the emotional impact.
The first thing I noticed when I looked at this book was the cover. It has the same pulp style I’d expect from a book in this series (I’d buy the first one for Black-Eyed Susan alone) and you somehow the woman in the picture makes it seem more modern. For me it really mirrored the way that the content bridges the old pulp stories and fresh new gritty and emotive stories.
The second thing I noticed was that it contained a Patti Abbott story. That is always a good thing. I was left numb and stunned after reading ‘Doe In Headlights’. Somehow Abbott manages to make this story seem much worse than it actually is. There are gaps. Deliberate gaps that let the reader use their warped little minds to heighten the nastiness of this story. I found this story in particular to be a compelling read even though I really didn’t want to know what happened. I really didn’t but I couldn’t stop reading.
Every story in this collection is different. From the writing styles to the content. There is a nasty streak that runs through this book. Some truly revolting characters and utterly disturbing situations are covered in this book. The anthology ends with ‘Speed Dating’. I can’t really say much that won’t give away the plot but it has an interesting structure and is impossible to put down before you’ve finished. It felt like it took about a minute to read that story I was so engrossed.
There isn’t a poor story in this book and it is well worth the price of a frothy coffee.