Samson and Denial (Thunderstorm Books) is a powerful debut from author Robert Ford, a story reeling at a break-neck pace that demands a reading in one sitting. This is Robert E. Howard, Norman Partridge and Bryan Smith, all rolled into one explosive package that doesn't mince words, but also doesn't sacrifice its craft. It's a story of substance as well as fast-paced thrills.
Things have taken a nasty turn for pawnbroker and small-time drug-dealer Samson Gallows. His brother and drug-dealing partner Marky tortured and murdered in ruthless fashion by merciless Russian gangsters, his wife Tia abducted and in mortal danger, Samson finds himself barreling towards the kind of fight he's never wanted: one with no good outcome, no victory possible, but one he must embrace regardless. His dear brother, mutilated beyond recognition; beloved wife possibly facing the same, maybe even already dead. What else can he do?
But perhaps not all is lost. For Samson has in his possession a grisly artifact pawned to him earlier by one of his usual junkie customers. With this artifact comes a strange and horrifying legacy. And awful powers. When it saves Samson from the same men who killed Marky – in bloody fashion – a small chance for survival offers itself to him...if he can also survive the artifact's rightful owners, who fear neither death nor hell in their service to it, and would sooner gut him like a fish, rather than let it slip from their grasp again.
Ford's even-handed voice never loses control of his narrative. The prose flows, nice and tight and powerful, each word precisely chosen for maximum punch. And the story itself tears up the track like a dragster burning high octane nitrous oxide. Along the way, Ford paints poignant, bitter-sweet portraits of life in the city, infusing his tale with a thundering heart that refuses to quit, right to the last page.
Kevin Lucia is a Contributing Editor for Shroud Magazine. His short fiction has appeared in several anthologies. He's currently finishing his Creative Writing Masters Degree at Binghamton University, he teaches high school English and lives in Castle Creek, New York with his wife and children. He is the author of Hiram Grange & The Chosen One, Book Four of The Hiram Grange Chronicles, and he's currently working on his first novel. Visit him on the web at www.kevinlucia.com.