Monday, 29 May 2017
ROB PIERCE - UNCLE DUST (2015)
Dustin loves to rob banks. Dustin loves to drink. Dustin loves his women. Dustin loves loyalty. He might even love his adopted nephew Jeremy. And, he sometimes gets a little too enthusiastic in his job doing collections for local bookies--so, sometimes, he loves to hurt people. Told in the first person, Uncle Dust is a fascinating noir look inside the mind of a hard, yet very complicated criminal.
Rob Pierce has been nominated for a Derringer Award for short crime fiction, and has had his stories published in Flash Fiction Offensive, Pulp Modern, Plots With Guns, Revolt Daily, Near To The Knuckle, and Shotgun Honey. The editor of Swill Magazine, he lives in Oakland, California, with his wife and two children. He is equally comfortable taking romantic walks on the beach or dumping the body elsewhere.
"I was imprisoned for bank robbery, where I read plenty of novels with a bank robber as the protagonist. Only a few writers entertained me with killer dialogue. I even contacted Elmore Leonard when I was paroled, told him crime writer to crime writer that he understood criminal dialogue real swell. Here's the thing: Had I read "Uncle Dust" while I was incarcerated I would've got out and contacted Rob Pierce before Elmore. The story and dialogue in "Uncle Dust" captured so much of that world and circumstance in all its squalid glory. Made me wish I'd done time with tough guy Dustin. I thoroughly enjoyed our criminal hero's mind as he observed the world, and himself, through a cynical thief's lens. And I think you will too."
– Joe Loya, author of the critically-acclaimed memoir, The Man Who Outgrew His Prison Cell: Confessions of A Bank Robber.
I do like my criminal outlaw books and this 300+ plus page tale of bank robber Dustin from Rob Pierce is another winner.
Dustin is our main man and he's great company for our journey. Not especially likeable, but not abhorrent either. A bit of a loner - one friend, Rico - but he's not one you could especially trust, more an associate. He likes a drink, in fact most of the time he has a beer on the go, or something stronger. He scopes and pulls his bank jobs single handedly and in the main he's reliant on himself and answerable to nobody.
He likes the ladies, as long as they know their place. He's with Theresa and she has a boy Jeremy. He's jealous of Theresa's ex-boyfriend, Davis and is suspicious of his motives towards Jeremy. I don't know that Dustin has the capacity to love, but because of the neglect and abuse he suffered as a boy, something within him wants to protect Jeremy and at the same time, equip him with some tools so that he can protect himself from the playground bullies. He obviously feels something.
He cheats on Theresa, and he treats his new girlfriend, Olive with the same disdain he shares for Theresa. He takes what he wants and gives little of himself back. I still kind of liked him though.
Dustin gets a little obsessed with Davis - Theresa's ex and a little suspicious of what Jeremy gets up to after school. Poacher turns gamekeeper for a while. That's not going to turn out well.
One of Dustin's jobs goes wrong and to tide himself over he starts doing a bit of debt collecting for an associate of Rico's. For a while, Dustin has a routine as regular visits and collections need to be made. He's good at this job, violent when required to be although the implied threat is usually enough to get the job done. Sometimes this frustrates Dustin, but not as much as being beholden to someone else for his dollar is.
Things change as Dustin makes a unilateral career choice. A rash decision? Possibly. There will be consequences, but that's a matter for another day.
Superb writing - an interesting character piece. Dustin is flawed, but not beyond redemption. He treats women callously, possibly borderline abusive, but is conflicted and obviously cares for Jeremy. Wanting to protect him, as he himself wasn't when he was Jeremy's age.
Great scenes packed with tension, especially when Dustin is on a job and some interesting domestic conflicts within the book.
4 from 5
Rob Pierce has written a follow on to this - With the Right Enemies, something I'm hoping to read in the next month or so.
He's on Facebook here.
Read - April 2017
Published - 2015
Page count - 316
Source - purchased copy
Format - Kindle