Zakk reviews “Hashtag” by Eryk Pruitt.

 

 “Simple reviews from a simple reader…”
Zakk reviews “Hashtag” by Eryk Pruitt. 255 pages published by 280 Steps.
Overall Score: 5/5
“When I die, I want to walk with Jesus. That’s all I want. But I ain’t going to get to walk with no Jesus if I keep calling people motherfucker and shooting women in the head, am I?”
Odie Shanks, a young man with dreams of Hollywood stardom and a reality in a pizza kitchen under the thumb of a sexually exhaustive and abusive boss, takes advantage of an opportune robbery to help realize his aspirations. 
Deputy Roy Rains, ineffective and past his prime, if ever there was a prime, is in the crosshairs. He’s being held personally responsible for solving the robbery/ kidnapping. He’s in a crunch and needs to find the missing boy, arrest the criminal responsible, and salvage the fragile social ecosystem of Lake Castor.
All the while, Odie is becoming increasingly jealous of the notoriety obtained by another serial criminal running the same kind path as Odie and “kidnapper” Jake, a man freshly off of a 19 year prison stint looking for a stitch of revenge. The only difference is that Melinda’s drug fuled decent into chaos is trending on social media under the hashtag #SweetMelinda. Odie aches for his own hashtag.
Paths collide and fates are defined in a hail of gunfire, but what would you expect? This is Lake Castor.
“9mm is the go-between… What you hit, you stop. It’s bigger than a .22 but ain’t quite a .44. You rack this thing and folks will stop what they’re doing. If you have to fire it, it’s going to put a body in the dirt. She kicks, but she kicks smooth and after a while, you’ll find that you like it. She’s a bad girl, but you ain’t got to spank her none. No, she’ll do the spanking for you.”
What a ride “Hashtag” is. Pulp crime fiction straight from the dirty south. Eryk Pruitt crafts an intricate web of chaotic threads and everywhere these threads meet you’ll find violence, deceit, double crosses and maybe if you’re lucky, a warm, attractive body. It’s a scattergun blast of noir fiction and one hell of a dark corner slow dance with your favorite gal (or guy). 
From page one I was hooked, itching to get back to turning pages. Escorted back through the town limits of Lake Castor, Virginia, and it was like I never left. Things here operate on a different frequency, with just as many unwritten rules as actual laws. It can be a dangerous town if you are not attuned, if you don’t respect the elder hierarchy.
What propels this read is the fantastic cavalcade of flesh and blood characters. They feel like real people, with tangible problems and authentic desires. And while you are wanting the best outcome for these characters you’ve become attached to, you are also aching for the messy, disastrous collision. 
And it’s all delivered in a prose sharp as a homemade shiv while smooth as any casket aged whiskey. Mr. Pruitt really knows how to turn a phrase, and by the last page you’ll be intoxicated by his words. There will always be room for a shot of Eryk Pruitt on my kindle. 
Hashtag is a novel that’ll make you feel a bit dirty while reading it. You’ll feel even dirtier when you realize how much you’re enjoying it and rooting for the worst. 
“That’s either an insult or a compliment, but I don’t reckon I got enough sleep to go rooting out either one.”
Zakk is a big dumb animal.

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