BLACKTOP STYX is a crime / thriller, hard and tightly woven as chain-mail. Blending the dark tones of early James Elroy, and Boston Teran; the open road atmosphere of James Crumley, and the hard edged dialogue of Elmore Leonard, BLACKTOP STYX provides a rewarding adventure for fans of the neo-noir crime genre.
Over twenty years ago James ‘Jimmy Gee’ Giardello watched a bloody and battered ‘Slash’ Johansson hobble down an alley and out of his life. That had been the upside, the downside being, Inga, the woman who had been the cause of the rift between the two men, had aided Slash in making his exit. Slash might have lost the battle, but Jimmy lost the lady.
As the years passed Jimmy came to realize, Inga hadn’t been much of lady, and her leaving hadn’t been much of a loss. If the phone call had come from Inga, Jimmy would have shined it. The fact that it had been Slash on the line was enough to make Jimmy listen. When his old nemesis spoke of unfinished business between them, Jimmy didn’t waste time. He was in his pickup and on his way.
Not much is left of the behemoth that Jimmy had rode, drank, and ultimately battled with. Ninety pounds have been stripped from his frame by the ‘monster’, AIDS. Even as an enfeebled husk, Slash still has the strength to pull a trigger. This he quickly demonstrates by shooting Sheila; the woman who infected him and shares his high-desert trailer, while Jimmy looks on.
Unflappable in the face of this violence, Jimmy doesn’t do as well when Slash informs him that, twenty-three years ago, Inga had given birth to a daughter, Jimmy’s daughter.
Slash’s last act, after giving Jimmy a picture of the girl and a letter from Inga, is to fire a final shot from his pistol, ending the dregs of his existence. While Slash’s tribulations have come to an end, Jimmy’s have just begun.
On opening Inga’s letter, the first thing Jimmy learned about his daughter was her name . . . . Peril. By the time he had read the message in its entirety, he came to realize just how appropriate a name it was. While Peril has made few friends in her short life, her enemies are legion.
BLACKTOP STYX follows Peril’s full-tilt flight for her life, as well as Jimmy’s intense quest to track Peril down, before her varied and vicious pack of pursuers can run her to ground.
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