I've been sampling the crime and noir offerings published by Fahrenheit Press, and All Things Violent by Nikki Dolson is one of a bunch of Fahrenheit titles I bought late last year.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novella from Dolson, whose female protagonist, Laura Park, goes through a brutal journey into a career as a hired killer. I do love a really tough female protagonist (thinking writers like Christa Faust) and Dolson delivers a very fine tough character. Naturally, the disappointments Laura faces from men become a driving force for her, but there is a well-balanced mixture of emotions played out here. For me, this adds to the dark realism of the narrative. Dolson's prose is crisp and direct, and she makes great use of sensory images, especially taste and smell. The first person narrative does much to strengthen the impression of Laura and, given this is a story about her, nothing is lost by using her POV alone. We get all we need of the other characters from their actions and the dialogue. I certainly found myself urging Laura on, and I'd be keen to read any follow on stories.
A good, solid piece of noir. I recommend it, and I'll be coming back for more of Dolson's work.
"Switchblade" Issue # 5 - This anthology gets darker and finer every time! It's a must read for crime connoisseurs.
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