“Ex Libris The Eyes of Madness, simple reviews from a simple reader…”
Zakk reviews Tijuana Donkey Showdown by Adam Howe, 230 pages published by Comet Press, 2016.
“Face it, Levine. You’re just a broke-down strip club palooka, living in a shoebox above a thrift store. A classy broad like Shelby Boon would never look twice at a pug like you. Hell, you’d be lucky to land a date with Lorena Bobbitt.”
Reggie Levine, ex-boxer turned bouncer, and hapless hero, has barely recovered from his ordeal in Damn Dirty Apes, when he is called back to action. Recruited to retrieve a Chinese crested terrier from a fleapit roadside zoo, where the ugly effing showdog has been mistaken for the chupacabra, Reggie soon finds himself embroiled in a deadly criminal conspiracy involving neo-Nazi drug smugglers, a seedy used-car salesman, a wannabe serial killer, an ornery Vietnam veteran, a badass veterinarian, a freakishly endowed adult entertainment donkey named Enrique, and in an explosive cameo, an Academy Award winning Hollywood icon.
From Adam Howe, writer of Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet, Black Cat Mojo, and the winner of Stephen King’s On Writing contest, comes another hard-hitting slice of pulp Southern crime, 80s action, pop Americana, and pitch-black comedy.
“Frankly it was a poor example to be setting around town. Hard to lay down the law with your hand down your pants. Pulling over some gal for a traffic violation, he’d felt like Harvey Keitel in the Bad Lieutenant, forcing female drivers into lewd displays while he mauled his meat.”
First impressions (judging the book by it’s cover)
If the cover art and first interior art piece (that of a bloated, mulleted Nick Cage movie poster) isn’t an honest representation of what I’m about to get myself into with Tijuana Donkey Showdown, then I will be PISSED! Adam is a hell of a writer, he is required reading in my world and I’m psyched to crack this open.
“’Is that rust?’
‘Hell, no. That’s character. And just wait till you hear her. She roars like the MGM lion.’ I thought it more likely she death-rattled like the lion that prick dentist shot.”
Final thoughts (judging the book by it’s content)
When I read Damn Dirty Apes, the opening piece to Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet, I dug it a lot. Just shy of “loved it” as I thought it ran a little too long. Reggie Levine, a washed-up (cheated) prizefighter, was a character I could get behind and rally with, an everyday Joe I could relate to. His tale was ridiculous but it felt par for the course when it comes to the life of a natural born loser.
Tijuana Donkey Showdown continues the tale of Reggie, a man with a natural temperate to attract bizarre trouble. How much time has passed since DDA? Who knows, who cares? The read (and the character) makes it feel like it was yesterday, and it reads like a natural extension of the miserable life of Lavine. (The book actually makes it pretty clear that it’s been a few years, but you catch my drift, right?) Falling into this world is fluid and immediate, with the enjoyment level falling somewhere between sipping a stiff drink next to a warm woman and sipping a stiff drink watching the neighbors beat the shit out of each other. Not once do you ask “How does he get into these situations?” But you do catch yourself saying “Well, of course he’s getting into this situation.”
Adam’s writing is shank sharp and the dialog is great. So great that it actually grounds the crazy-insane goings on and turns them into plausible, almost expected events. The book works for me and tickled every part going down. Stoking the hunger for more Reggie Lavine, and more Adam Howe yarns.
I’d love to see Reggie Levine team up with Nick Bullman, James Newman’s tortured ex-wrestler from Ugly as Sin. That would be a fucking riot. James, Adam, make this happen for me.
“But chewing the fat with Adam for any length of time always makes me feel inadequate. Like we just whipped out our dicks to see whose was most impressive and he had five or six inches on me plus the girth to go with it.” – From James Newman’s Foreward
**Note: The bonus short Clean-up On Aisle 3 should have come first, I think it would have worked better as an opener. Like a trailer before a Grindhouse feature rather than the after-credits stinger. It’ still pretty awesome.
What? Oh, you’re still here? Why, when you should be reading Adam Howe? Tijuana Donkey Showdown is a shameless good time. Perhaps read Damn Dirty Apes first, so long as you make it back to TDS. It’s a hoot.
Zakk is a big dumb animal!
**Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and/ or publisher and I am reviewing it voluntarily. These are my honest, unbiased feelings. I did not receive any sort of compensation.
Biography of Adam Howe…
Wait, that’s not right…
Biography of Adam Howe
Adam Howe writes the twisted fiction your mother warned you about. A British writer of fiction and screenplays, he lives in Greater London with his partner and their hellhound, Gino. Writing as Garrett Addams, his short story Jumper was chosen by Stephen King as the winner of the On Writing contest, and published in the paperback/Kindle editions of SK’s book; he was also granted an audience with The King, where they mostly discussed slow vs. fast zombies. His fiction has appeared in Nightmare Magazine, Thuglit, The Horror Library, Mythic Delirium, Plan B Magazine, and One Buck Horror. He is the author of two collections, Black Cat Mojo and Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet, plus the eBook single, Gator Bait. Future works include Tijuana Donkey Showdown, One Tough Bastard, and a crime/horror collaboration with Adam Tribesmen Cesare.
Find him on Twitter at @Adam_G_Howe.
Praise for Tijuana Donkey Showdown
“Like Lansdale on meth, or ‘80s action-movie icon Shane Black on crack, I have yet to read anything by Howe that didn’t have me laughing so hard I wondered more than once if I might have sprained something vital inside of me. He’s done it again with Tijuana Donkey Showdown. The only thing I hate about this guy’s books is the fact that, as soon as I finish one, there’s not another I can start right away. Dammit.” —James Newman, author of Ugly As Sin, Odd Man Out, and Animosity
“Adam Howe has oodles of insane talent. Tijuana Donkey Showdown reads like the script of the greatest B-movie ever, written by the unholy offspring of Joe R. Lansdale and Jeff Strand, and directed by Uwe Boll. Howe is a purveyor of beautiful, ridiculous violence, and I hope the misadventures of Reggie Levine continue for a long time.” —Pete Kahle, award-winning author of The Specimen
“Adam Howe’s latest offering rips along at the speed of sound, delivering action-packed thrills, uncountable surprises—both light and dark—and edgy, trademark humor, all of it rendered in such vivid prose it practically shimmers on the page. Another winner from an emerging master.” —Sean Costello, author of Squall and Finders Keepers
“Adam Howe is one of the funniest, sickest, most insane writers working today. The man has no filter!” —Jeff Strand, author of Dead Clown Barbeque
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