- Paperback: 268 pages
- Publisher: Second Wind Publishing, LLC (October 12, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1935171321
- ISBN-13: 978-1935171324
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,635,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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One Too Many Blows to the Head Paperback – October 12, 2009
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"A powerful tale of vengeance, rife with pounding action and colorful, complex characters. One Too Many Blows To The Head is a first round knock-out!" --Stephen Jay Schwartz, LA Times bestselling author of Boulevard
"One Too Many Blows to the Head feels like a long-lost pulp you find in a favorite bookstore. A delicious mix of classic hardboiled grit and the heart-heavy world of film noir, it's a one-sitting read that sends you back to a lost time of fight halls, Chicago boys and last chances." --Megan Abbott, author of Bury Me Deep and Queenpin
"Boxing and noir once went hand in glove, but you don't see many boxing novels anymore, and that's a shame. Here's one that dredges up all the blood and spit and sweat and money of the fight game, and wraps it around a tough noir storyline full of revenge and dark secrets. Kohl and Beetner get it exactly right." --Steve Brewer, author of Cutthroat
"Razor sharp debut from noir partnership Beetner and Kohl. From its first savage punch, the dark world of organised crime and boxing grips and refuses to let you go. Highly recommended." --Nick Quantrill, author of Broken Dreams
From the Author
One Too Many Blows To The Head marks the debut collaboration of authors JB Kohl and Eric Beetner. This taut and gritty Noir takes place amid the seedy world of fixed fights and mob influence. Uniquely, it features two first-person narratives as we follow the intertwining story of the hunter and the hunted.
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Top Customer Reviews
Set in 1939 around Kansas City boxing, mob control, and murder, it is part boxing tale, part detective story, and is as noir-ish and as pulpy as anything ever written. Make no bones about it. This book is excellent. If you like old-time boxing tales, this is your ticket. If you read hardboiled detective fiction, this is your ticket as well. From cover to cover, this tale takes the reader on a journey back in time to the late 30’s to Kansas City to the troubled lives of two men whose paths are destined to cross.
One, a boxing manager, who managed his own brother, and watched his own brother get beaten to a bloody pulp and die in the ring, a death that never should’ve happened. But, it did, in a corrupt, mob-controlled sport where the money changing hands on bets is more important than a man’s life. Tormented by what happened and his inability to do anything that can bring his brother back, Ray becomes a man on the run.
His narrative alternates with that of Detective Fokoli, who has his own demons to deal with, including an alcoholic wife, the mystery of what happened to his partner, and a new partner, who might not be tough enough to deal with what life has to offer them. He’s on the trail of whoever killed a boxing manager, one who used to sing to the police and knew just about everything going down.
This tale is rich, complex, filled with characters with long history. The prose flows quickly despite the fact that more than one author contributed to the story. It is a great read for anyone who loves old pulp fiction and the dark, gloomy places in the city. Impossible really to say enough good things about this one. It is a rich vein of pure gold.
Their book is sublime.
Set in the boxing world of 1939/40 it follows the lives of two characters, Ray Ward and Detective Dean Fokoli. They take alternate chapters to give their first-person accounts of what happened after the slaying of Ray's brother Rex in the ring.
Essentially Rex has been set up and Ray needs to get revenge. Fokoli is the man charged with the responsibility of cleaning up the mess to avoid a war between the mobs of Chicago and Kansas City.
Their lives that have strong parallels, though for now they seem to be working in reverse order. Ray has spent his whole life on the boxing scene and has always tried to be as good as he could; it's only with the death of his brother that he releases the demons he's kept buried. Fokoli, on the other hand, has spent his working life on the take, a cop in the pockets of the mob; it's only in recently that he has seen the light and has turned his back on corruption and back-handers.
Not that it really matters which way these guys try to go, for it seems inevitable that they're both completely on the skids whatever happens.
It's a simple idea, I suppose, but it's so brilliantly written that every page is a joy. I had the need to race through the plot and yet to savour the language and the atmosphere created at one and the same time. Somehow I think I was able to do both.
I rate it so highly because it picks many of my soft spots and exploits them with sucker punches.
The two main guys are tough men. Macho guys who can fell a sturdy opponent with a solid blow or a well-placed knee. Their lives are messed up, their loyalties strong (if sometimes misplaced), they speak in quips and lurk in shadows.
They're supported by a list of characters who play their parts perfectly. Seedy landlords, drunken bums, prostitutes, victims, bartenders, cops and robbers all bring an array of shades to the piece.
It has one of the best atmospheres and scenes that I've come across in a good while. In my head it was all black and white like the films of the time. I could smell the rings and the gyms, I kid you not, had a sense of the racial tensions and segregation, felt the blows as they came in, understood the need to start the day with a shot of the hard stuff. I was with them every step of the way and loved the journey they took me on.
Strung throughout, like pearls on a string, are the boxing tips of Ray's father (all the philosophies Ray has seem to come from boxing):
'Pop always told us that if you get into a fight outside the ring, you don't want to play it for the decision. You hit that guy until he goes down and you hit him so he'll stay down. Only thing worse than a guy who is pissed off to come at you in the first place is a guy who's doubly pissed because now you hit him.'
and sharp lines:
'There was a dead plant in a pot by the window. I figured it for a suicide.'
'Memory lane is a dangerous street to walk down.'
and they use objects to tell a story with a simply turned phrase:
'I banged on the window with my wedding ring. It was still good for something.'
The book's a collaboration between two people who haven't actually met. How they produced something so seamless is impossible to tell. I looked for the joins and couldn't spot a single one. What I know they managed was to cut out any waste and perfected their use of words as they worked. If collaboration is this good, then I'm going to try getting in touch with some of my hidden personalities to see what we can come up with.
It's a book that might well have turned out as a painting-by numbers exercise; instead these guys have produced a masterpiece.
An absolute gem.
Fokoli had a past he wasn't proud of that seemed to catching up with him and hot on the trail of a killer.
I could feel their pain and anger. JB and Eric made them real to me and gave me a very unexpected ending! I can't wait to read Borrowed Trouble, the next in the Ray and Fokoli Series!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
And the disrepair in their existence
Done by two authors, you cannot find the seams, no matter how hard you try, so well done it is.