Dig Two Graves

DTGAuthor: Eric Beetner
Publisher: Snubnose Press
Published: November 2011

As the title, Dig Two Graves, would imply, this novella is a tale of revenge. It concerns Val, who is an ex-con. But one who has lived a strange double life. On civi-street he is straight, and while in prison he is gay – described as an ‘innie and outie’. As the story begins Val is busted by the police. He was ratted out by his prison lover, a Latino named Ernesto.

From page one, Dig Two Graves is a wild ride, and the pace doesn’t let up. Val escapes from custody and seeks vengeance. Forgive me for being light on details, but I don’t really want to give any of the twists and turns away. I probably have already said too much!

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this story is it serves up crime genre cliché after cliché – or at least it sets up each set piece that way – but as the story plays out, each of these sequences is turned on their head. Just when you think you know where the story is going, and you have read it all before, author, Eric Beetner drags the story kicking and screaming in a completely opposite direction.

This book is not for everyone. It fast, furious and filthy – and violent, but I found it to be a breath of fresh air in a genre where so many stories read the same. Highly recommended.

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Dig Two Graves

Stripper Pole at the End of the World

StripperIt’s no secret, when it comes to movies I like ‘Ploitation’ – whether it be Exploitation, Bruceploitation, Sexploitation, Nunsploitation, Dwarfsploitation – all of it. And over the years, Permission to Kill has presented its share of ‘Ploitation’ or schlock cinema reviews.

Now that same kind of cheap and nasty thrills can be downloaded onto your kindle. From Schlock Zone Drive In Theater comes their latest novella, Stripper Pole at the End of the World scribed by the prolific Eric Beetner.

Here’s the blurb.

In the near future, after The Collapse, work is hard to come by. The economy is in ruins, much like the city crumbling around Janet, a woman who has lost everything – her husband, her job … her leg.

When the lure of a job brings her out on the increasingly dangerous streets she must confront the deadliest of new fears – the bands of cannibals who roam the city.

With a ragtag group of bikers, strippers and survivors Janet must face down the most dangerous night of their lives. When dawn comes, not everyone will live to see a new day and dance at the Stripper Pole At The End Of The World.

So yeah, Strippers, Biker Gangs and Cannibals. Sells it self really. Of course, to a fella like me, this is a must read.

The Stripper Pole at the End of the World is now available from Amazon.

Stripper Pole at the End of the World

LEE: An anthology inspired by actor Lee Marvin

Authors: Scott Phillips, Heath Lowrance, Johnny Shaw, Jenna Bass, Adrian McKinty, Jake Hinkson, Ray Banks, James Hopwood, Erik Lundy, Eric Beetner, Luke Preston, Nigel Bird, Ryan K. Lindsay, Andrew Nette, Cameron Ashley and Jimmy Callaway.
Publisher: Crime Factory
Published: March 2013

This weekend sees the launch of LEE, a new anthology of stories inspired by the life and films of Lee Marvin. ‘Inspired’, yes this is fiction – but it’s Lee Marvin fiction – and fiction doesn’t get any tougher than that!

Marvin needs no introduction, being one of the 20th Century’s most iconic actors. And we all have a favourite Marvin film… be it, The Dirty Dozen, Death Hunt, Point Blank, The Killers, Cat Ballou, The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance, The Big Heat, Gorky Park, Paint Your Wagon, The Professionals, The Big Red One, Hell in the Pacific, … or even Delta Force.

For this anthology, I contributed a story called ‘Trust’, and it’s inspired by the film, Sergeant Ryker (1968). Firstly, if you’re not familiar with Sergeant Ryker, it has an unusual production history. It was originally a two-part TV production, called The Case Against Paul Ryker for the Kraft Suspense Theater, which aired in 1963.

When Marvin became a superstar, after winning an Academy Award for Cat Ballou, and lauded performances in other movies, such as Point Blank and The Dirty Dozen – some smart egg in Hollywood decided to turn the TV production into a movie; adding a few simple action scenes to the story (which don’t feature Marvin). It was then released in 1968 as Sergeant Ryker, hoping to ride on the coat-tails of Marvin’s success and surging popularity.

Sergeant Ryker is a courtroom drama, set during the Korean War, where Marvin’s character stands accused of treason, a hanging offense. The man standing between life and death is an Intelligence Officer, played by actor, Murray Hamilton.

Murray Hamilton may not be a household name, but he was a very popular and familiar character actor. His most famous role, is of course, the mayor of Amity in Jaws and Jaws 2.

Murray Hamilton with Roy Scheider in Jaws.

It is also common knowledge, that Lee Marvin was Steven Spielberg’s first choice to play Quint in Jaws, a role that ended up being played by Robert Shaw. So the conceit of my story is that the two actors, Marvin and Hamilton get together, share a few drinks and talk about big game fishing.

What could possibly go wrong?

I am pretty excited to be included amongst the amazing troupe of writers assembled for this anthology, including a few of my Fight Card colleagues, Eric Beetner and Heath Lowrance. I haven’t had a chance to read the full book yet, but the word is that this collection of stories is amazing, so if sounds like your cup of tea, then I’d act early, as I have an inkling that the first print run, may just sell out!

“This collection of short fiction puts legendary actor Lee Marvin smack dab in the center of the action where he belongs.”

— Dwayne Epstein, author of Lee Marvin: Point Blank

“This collection delivers. The writing is pungent, sly and muscular, dark and comic, and all of it has a tremendous energy. A love of film and love of noir is evident in every story. This does Lee proud.”

— Christos Tsiolkas, author of The Slap and Dead Europe

LEE is already available to order from the Crime Factory site, and I am sure it will be available from other outlets (such as Amazon) soon.

“And here’s to Swimmin’ with bow legged women!”

LEE: An anthology inspired by actor Lee Marvin

A Mouth Full of Blood

Author: Eric Beetner
Published: July 2012

I have to admit I am biased. It is no secret that I have written a Fight Card novel and have spent the last six months reading fight fiction and watching boxing movies. Therefore one could reasonably say, that my objectivity on A Mouth Full of Blood is compromised. I beg to differ. I think it means that I have now read and watched the best and the worst, and that puts me in the perfect position to comment on the strengths and weaknesses of such material.

Without a word of a lie – and this is a pretty big claim – I think Eric Beetner’s latest addition to the Fight Card series, A Mouth Full of Blood is the best in the series so far. Like I said, it’s a big claim, because there have been some damn good stories in the series (humility forbids that I talk about how King of the Outback stacks up against the others – I will leave that to other critics).

A Mouth Full of Blood is a perfect balance of action and drama, and the characters are believable. Furthermore you actually care about them, willing them to come through at the end. The hero, Jimmy Wyler first appeared in Split Decision (which was released last November). However, no prior knowledge of the events in Split Decision is required to enjoy this tale.

A Mouth Full of Blood finds Jimmy back in his home town Chicago, working as a dishwasher at a small diner. One of his co-workers is a fifteen year old boy, Leo – whose home life is monstrous. His father is an abusive alcoholic, and his sister has failed to come home for the past five nights.

Leo explains she has been taken by a villainous pimp named Flip, aided and abetted by his gang of switch-blade minions. They intend to turn her out onto the streets as a prostitute. Jimmy decides to help Leo and his family to get her back.

The fight scenes in the novel are vivid and well described (almost cinematic), and it is easy to follow the action. However a fight scene is nothing without the characters having a strong motivation to fight, and the human drama in this tale is top rate, making the stakes inside the ring, all that more important.

And maybe that the key to A Mouth Full of Blood. I have talked about it being fight fiction, which it is – however it is the human drama that makes the story work, and therefore I think you don’t have to be a boxing fan to enjoy this story at all. It is about the characters, one of whom, just happens to be an ex-boxer. So if you have been tip-toeing around the Fight Card series, thinking that you’re not that interested in reading about sweaty men slugging it out in a ring, then this may very well be a book for you. Yes, there is fighting in it, but at heart, it’s just a great story. I think author, Eric Beetner has delivered a slab of first class entertainment regardless of genre. Highly recommended.

A Mouth Full of Blood is available form Amazon as an eBook or Paperback.

A Mouth Full of Blood

One Too Many Blows To The Head

Here is the book trailer for fellow Fightcard author, Eric Beetner’s novel One Too Many Blows To The Head.

Book trailer One Too Many Blows To The Head from Eric Beetner on Vimeo.

May sees the launch of King of the Outback, the sixth book in the popular Fightcard series – and my literary debut (writing as Jack Tunney). Accordingly, in a month long celebration, Permission to Kill will be looking back and some of the highlights – and lowlights – of boxing in film and literature – and in music too.

For an up-to-date direct connection with the Fightcard series check out the home page, or for you youngsters, you can follow the Facebook Fan Page.

One Too Many Blows To The Head

Fight Card: Split Decision

Author: Eric Beetner
Published: December 2010
Book No: 3

Recently I have written how much I enjoyed the first two books in the Fight Card series (Felony Fists by Paul Bishop and The Cutman by Mel Odom). However, in my reviews I suggested that a boxing story would always be predictable because they will always end with the ‘big fight’ and that the hero will win. Well now I find myself in the embarrassing situation of having to eat my words. There is nothing predictable about the third instalment of the Fight Card series, Split Decision by Eric Beetner.

And I must say, I am delighted to eat my words. I think I just have a narrow view of what a pulp boxing tale can be – maybe I have watched too many Rocky films!

Split Decision has a beautifully simple premise. It’s the story of Jimmy Wyler, a middle of the pack fighter, in Kansas City. He wants to make some money, so he can buy a diamond ring for his loyal girlfriend Lola. Then along comes a hood named Cardone, and he offers Jimmy a wad of cash if he’ll take part in a fixed fight. Jimmy, against his better judgment agrees. And in this instance is allowed to win the fight.

So now he’s hooked. He’s a fighter who’ll take money to alter the outcome of a bout. Cardone comes a calling for Jimmy’s next fight. But this time he wants Jimmy to take a dive in the forth. Easy enough. But then it gets tricky. An up-an-comer, in the organised crime world, named Whit, comes along with another proposition. He wants Jimmy to win by knocking out his opponent in the third. Jimmy says he can’t. But Whit isn’t the type you can say no to.

So there it is, Jimmy Wyler is caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place – and whatever his decision, it is gonna cause trouble – the dangerous kind. What I really liked about Split Decision was that it was unpredictable; it put its main protagonist through the ringer; and didn’t take the soft option for the resolution. I have read too many of these stories, where the hero appears to be trapped between two warring factions, only to have one of the factions be really good guys, like undercover police, or something like that. Thankfully, author Eric Beetner does not take the soft option. He serves up the boxing equivalent of Yojimbo or a Fistful of Dollars – putting his hero (if I can call him that), smack dab in the middle. But Wyler is not so self serving. He hasn’t deliberately put himself in harm’s way. And his prize is not a fistful of dollars. As I said, all he wants is to get a ring for his girl.

Split Decision has a very different feel from the first two Fight Card stories, but still delivers the same hard punching thrills in a distinctly noirish tale. If had been made into a film in the Golden Days of Hollywood, John Garfield would have played Jimmy Wyler. It’s that kind of story. I finished it in one sitting. It’s that entertaining. Highly recommended.

Split Decision is available from Amazon.

Hungry for more noirish boxing tales? Beetner is also the co-author of One Too Many Blows to the Head. Here’s the spiel:

Kansas City, 1939. One story from two points of view: the hunter and the hunted. Ray Ward – seeking revenge for his brother’s death in the boxing ring. Detective Dean Fokoli – hot on a killer’s trail.

Ray’s hunt takes him underground into Kansas City’s criminal nightlife. Dean Fokoli lives there full time but he’s on the run from his own troubles. Two men racing forward to collide like a knockout punch.

A razor-edged story of revenge, redemption and what happens when you confront the ghosts of the past.

You can find out more about Beetner at his blog – where he commits crimes – on paper!

In May:

May sees the launch of King of the Outback, the sixth book in the popular Fightcard series – and my literary debut (writing as Jack Tunney).

Set in Outback Australia, in Birdsville, one of the most remote towns on the planet, two rival boxing tents set up shop in competition with each other. In the sweltering heat, tensions simmer, tempers flare, and a tent burns.

For an up-to-date direct connection with the Fightcard series check out the home page, or for you youngsters, you can follow the Facebook Fan Page.

Fight Card: Split Decision