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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great first novel!
Wow. I bought this for my Kindle on a lark, having never heard of the author before.

Now, I have been a crime fiction fanatic since I was an early teen. I've read hundreds of Crime fiction titles from the best and brightest. I only state this because I feel like I'm very familiar with the genre as a whole, and Hardboiled Crime/Noir specifically, and while...
Published 22 months ago by D. Plante

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid reading this book it's that bad.
I read this book since I enjoy mystery, crime-fiction, and noir films. This book was poorly written, it was very predictable, and the entire plot was already done better by Davis Grubb in Night of the Hunter.

The first 100 pages were a total Jim Thompson ripoff. After page 100, the story takes a left turn and becomes an escape flick where our psychopathic...
Published 4 months ago by J.


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great first novel!, June 26, 2012
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This review is from: Hell on Church Street (Kindle Edition)
Wow. I bought this for my Kindle on a lark, having never heard of the author before.

Now, I have been a crime fiction fanatic since I was an early teen. I've read hundreds of Crime fiction titles from the best and brightest. I only state this because I feel like I'm very familiar with the genre as a whole, and Hardboiled Crime/Noir specifically, and while everyone is entitled to an opinion, I would say Crime fiction is one of the things--one of the few things, perhaps--I know extremely well and can discuss at length with anyone. It's not often I pick up a title with no idea of who wrote it, and walk away as surprised as I was with this one.

After reading it, I knew I had to write a review and do my bit so that anyone who happens across this title will be more likely to give Jake Hinkson a shot. This guy has written a very, very engaging first novel that shimmers with promise and anticipation of things to come.

The basic plot is a rootless, dishonest man becomes a youth minister for an Arkansas church. He does it because he simply needs a place to live and money to live on. He is genial and can speak well. He has little problem making the congregation believe he is a decent, God fearing man whose only intention is the Lord's will. Now, readers will, or at least I did, strongly empathize with Webb, the protagonist of the novel. He's really not a bad sort. He's only trying to get by in life, and even if he doesn't believe what he's spouting to the congregation, he certainly isn't doing any harm. That's what makes some of the crimes he ends up committing all the more disturbing. You identify with him so much that when he does something appalling, you wonder what you would have done in the same situation.

His problems really begin with Angela, the Pastor's underage daughter. She's sixteen or seventeen and Webb immediately starts obsessing over her. Not really in a creepy, bizarre way, but in a way that most guys who have met a woman that leaves a serious impression on their heartstrings can fathom. I like the fact that Hinkson strays from cliche'-ville and instead of making her a beautiful and precocious Cheerleader/beach bunny Lolita, Angela is a pudgy, insecure girl who largely goes unnoticed by the world. Which, again, is true to life because often the people who leave extrordinary impressions on us to the point where we can't stop thinking of them often do not look like Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. Beauty really is a subjective and bewildering concept. Again, so far, so good. We have a main character that could easily be you or I, in a situation that is perfectly plausible and understandable.

But then trouble brought on by the unpredictable vagaries of existence arise and Webb quickly begins to be swept up in them. The story that follows is disturbing, emotionally honest, and frighteningly realistic. I won't go further into detail so as not to ruin the surprise of some of the sudden and shocking events, but let's just say it's to the author's credit that as far down the moral ladder Webb climbs, it's hard not to relate and even root for him.

OK. To sum up: Hinkson is a real find. I will actively seek out this guy's work henceforth. He goes down on my MUST READ list. I think this is his first published novel. If this book wasn't nominated for a best first novel, somewhere, an injustice has been done. It's a fast read; I could easily see where other writers would have padded out the storylines and made it two or three times longer. But Hinkson stripped the story fairly close to the bone and we get a fast-paced and mesmerizing tale of lust, love and murder delivered masterfully by a new writer who writes like one of the established best. Already. In his first published book. Scary, in an absolutely wonderful way, to think of what this guy is capable of if he's already, out the gate, wrting this well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent modern pulp, August 7, 2013
By 
col2910 (Bedfordshire,UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hell on Church Street (Kindle Edition)
Synopsis/blurb.....
A small Baptist church in Arkansas should be easy pickings for a natural born con man like Geoffrey Webb. But after talking himself into a cushy job as a youth minister, he becomes obsessed with the preacher's teenage daughter. When their relationship is discovered by a corrupt local sheriff named Doolittle Norris, Webb's easy life begins to fall apart. Backed by a family of psychotic hillbillies, Sheriff Norris forces Webb into a deadly scheme to embezzle money from the church. What the Norris clan doesn't understand is that Geoffrey Webb is more dangerous than he looks, and he has brutal plans of his own.
I'll be honest, I don't know a busting lot about this author to be truthful, though I have now established that he can write! He has had two books published to date. His other title, The Posthumous Man I have on my kindle-pc-reader-thingy also.
At 200-odd pages long, I should have finished this a lot more quickly than I did. I managed about 60 pages on my first day of opening it, before circumstance conspired to keep me away from my laptop. Earlier this week, I got back to it, soon picking up where I left off and blitzed through the last 140 pages in a few hours early morning reading, whilst the rest of the house slept.
This was a strange little book with an engaging but manipulative protagonist; one with his eye on the prize of the preacher's daughter. Geoffrey Webb, our main man, intent on showing Angela, more than just a path to the Lord, meets his match (or does he) when he crosses paths with the Sheriff in a small Arkansas town.
Violent, funny, irreverent and for me enjoyable and entertaining; Hell on Church Street doesn't deal in happy endings, but was a blast while it lasted. Hinkson's portrayal of a small town church community with its petty squabbles and manoeuvrings was fantastic.
Not the sort of book that is ever likely to trouble the best-seller lists, and it probably won't appeal to a lot of readers. It worked well for me though.
4 stars from 5....and an immediate reshuffling of Mount TBR putting The Posthumous Man closer to the top.
I got this sometime last year on Amazon.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Transegessive Pulp., August 3, 2012
By 
Paul D Brazill (Bydgoszcz, Poland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hell on Church Street (Paperback)
Paul is a troublemaker. A rough and ready kind of guy, he loses his job in a Mississippi plastics factory after getting into a fight with the Foreman.

So, he hits the road and ends up in Texaco. Running low on cash, he decides to rob a fat man and steal his car. But things don't go to plan.

The fat man introduces himself as Geoffrey Webb and he tells the harrowing story of his time as a youth minister at a small Baptist church in Arkansas and his seemingly inevitable descent into something painfully close to a literal hell as his life spiralled out of control and ever downward.

Hell On Church street is Jake Hinkson's impressively confident debut novel and it is simply magnificent.

An incredibly dark but richly hued blend of Jim Thompson's noir and Camus' The Fall, Hell On Church Street is both gripping and chilling. Beautifully written, perfectly paced and full of harsh insights into the innate duplicity (and self-duplicity) of human beings.

Absolutely brilliant.

Hell On Church Street is yet another fantastic slice of transgressive pulp fiction from New Pulp Press.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You NEED this book, December 18, 2011
By 
Noirguy (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hell on Church Street (Paperback)
Hinkson's debut is a pitch-perfect noir. More Cain and Thompson than Chandler and Hammett, Hinkson spins a tale so sordid you'll be shocked as it creeps up on you. He lures the reader in with a great backstory and then when things take a turn (or two or three) you are so invested that you can't help but stay on for the ride and you can't help but gasp at where it takes you.

Cleverly framed, richly populated with real characters and given to bursts of extreme violence, Hell on Church Street is my new definition of "my kind of book." It's also one I can recommend to anyone and everyone I'll ever meet.

Jake Hinkson is a major talent and this is one hell of a calling card.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spending time with a lowlife, November 22, 2013
By 
RueRue "RueRue" (Orange County, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hell on Church Street (Kindle Edition)
I like an "anti-hero" story every so often, and this certainly fits the catagory. If you feel like a short visit with some creepy people ( I mean that as a compliment ) this is a good, short read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hell On Earth, August 1, 2013
By 
This review is from: Hell on Church Street (Kindle Edition)
I'm swimming against a big tide on this one. Not against the tide exactly, more across it. Hell On Church Street has a mass of excellent reviews and it may well be that they offer a more rounded opinion than I can.
I did enjoy the read and think the idea for the story is really strong. A tough man, down on his luck, returns to crime to support himself. He waits patiently for a soft target and finds him in a flabby slob with poor personal hygiene. He takes the slob to his car and they drive off, the slob with a gun to his head. Tables are turned when the driver put his foot to the floor and keeps it there. It turns out that the soft target is only soft on the outside and we hear his very dark story as they drive along.
Geoffrey Webb's the name of the driver. He was a non-descript student who saw an opportunity to use his intelligence to take up and exploit a position in the church. He becomes a youth minister, but falls in love with the minister's daughter and a catalogue of disasters ensues. There's no doubt about it, it's dark, edgy and well written.
My overriding feeling is that it's the relationship between the 2 men in the opening and closing scenes that held most of my interest. Hinkson's twist is really smart. For that reason, I'd have preferred it if the central piece (the bulk of the tale) had been trimmed and feel that this would have made an outstanding short story of decent length rather than a good novel the way things are. I see it like a sandwich where the meat's on the outside and the bread's in the middle, if you can imagine such a thing.
Yes, it's pretty good and I liked it. I'd recommend it as a read and feel that the weight of opinion in its favour amplifies that thought tenfold.
Take a look. See if you know what I mean.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good, low down, gritty novel., February 23, 2014
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This review is from: Hell on Church Street (Paperback)
Jake Hinkson really delivered when he sat down and wrote this gritty, bad ass debut novel. I really loved how he presented the story. The book is separated into three parts. The novel begins with Paul, a tough guy who works in a plastics factory down in Mississippi, telling his story. Paul smashes his foreman's face to a pulp because the guy called him lazy. He decided to leave and head up to Oklahoma before the cops had a chance to catch him. After spending a few days on the run with an empty wallet and empty stomach, he decides he needs to find an easy target to rob. Geoffrey Webb, a youth minister at a Baptist church in Arkansas, seems like the perfect target. After hitting Geoffrey in the ear with his gun and shoving him into the car, Paul just doesn't realize he has stepped into a vicious man's life.

The second part of the book is told from Geoffrey Webb's point of view and proceeds to explain why Geoffrey could care less if Paul robs and kills him. In fact, Geoffrey has committed enough sins that he is pretty sure that he has a first class ticket to Hell. Geoffrey has a smooth, yet very creepy, way of talking himself out of any obstacle that gets in his way. Geoffrey Webb feels the need to tell Paul about his life as a youth minister and the bloody mess that he left behind on Church Street. Yes, Paul definitely picked the wrong guy to rob that night.

Jake Hinkson was not afraid to dip his toe into murky waters when it came to talking about sensitive subject matters that would make the toughest reader squirm a bit. He was, also, not afraid to shed blood. Do not go into this book thinking that it is a tale about a mean robber taking a sweet, soft spoken youth minister hostage. By the time I reached the halfway mark in the book, I was blown away by the whole turn of events. I really loved this book and I could not wait to talk about it with other readers. Jake Hinkson is very good at writing dark and gritty. I highly recommend giving this book a shot.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff!, July 26, 2013
This review is from: Hell on Church Street (Kindle Edition)
I guess this falls into the category of noir. While I don't like pigeon-holing books or music, this is along the lines of Will Christopher Baer or Don Pollock, so it's that type of content. Well written and full of losers and misfits and immoral souls, if you like the dark side of human nature, this is the place to find it. I highly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, July 23, 2013
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This review is from: Hell on Church Street (Kindle Edition)
The writer has a voice. Plain and simple. Terrific read. Powerful. I will search out other work from this author with pleasure.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A dark debut, well worth the read., May 19, 2013
By 
Mej (Atlanta, GA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hell on Church Street (Paperback)
Jake Hinkson's debut novel shows the sort of talent you see in writers like Daniel Woodrell or Victor Gischler. Hinkson's characters stick to you in a way that is not common in such short novels. I would argue that this work is darker than others who write in the hard boiled/noir scene, but the exploration between depravity and redemption is an interesting topic not commonly fleshed out these days. I'll keep my eye on Jake Hinkson as new work emerges.
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Hell on Church Street
Hell on Church Street by Jake Hinkson
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