Frank Sinatra in a Blender


November 24, 2012 by Thomas Pluck

I originally reviewed this book in 2011 when it was published in e-book form. I loved it then, and I love it now that New Pulp Press has published it in a snazzy paperback. So here’s an all-new review of a book that was in my top 5 for 2011 and should be on your list, right now:

Nick Valentine is a walking liquor store who walks both sides of the law. His only code is don’t mess with his little dog Frank, and keep the drinks coming. He is one of the funniest characters I’ve ever read, the bastard son of Bukowski and Hunter S. Thompson.

A title like this can be a bait & switch. When I was given the Canadian poet Crad Kilodney’s collection entitled “Lightning Struck My Dick,” I was sorely disappointed that said event never occurred within. McBride delivers the goods, and then some.

A bank job goes horribly wrong, and the Chief of Police asks Nick to put his ear to the street. Nick’s father was a cop and well, Nick isn’t, but he tries to be the good son… or a good son of a bitch. He gets tangled up with some very unsavory locals, some of whom are the closest he’s got to friends. McBride paints his colorful characters in moral shades of gray, but their motives are unquestionable, purely driven by character and human nature. English Sid and No-Nuts are two of the greatest villains I’ve read in a long while.

Nick’s only superpower is his mighty tolerance for alcohol, and his proclivity for inserting violence in the uncomfortable pauses where normal people are thinking about the consequences. There’s also an ex-Amish policeman who rings true- not played for laughs. It’s got plenty of heart and humanity in between the over the top laughs, brutality and Elmore Leonard-style double crosses.

No, despite the title and Nick’s fondness for drink, this is a character-driven crime thriller that makes me wish there was a whole damn series already written, so I could spend a week reading them. The only bad thing about this book is having to wait for the next one.

There’s a next one, ain’t there, Matt?

Get to it, or I’ll put YOU in a blender.



7 thoughts on “Frank Sinatra in a Blender

  1. Ben says:

    I agree about this having a heart. FSIAB has an INCREDIBLY dirty mind, but it has a pure heart. One of my best readings this year.

  2. I have a lttle list. And it's on it.

  3. Jaye says:

    And thus the TBR pile grows and grows…

  4. Thomas Pluck says:

    I guarawntee this one will tickle your fancy. There’s one scene where Nick gets tired of a loudmouth with a mustache at a bar that I still laugh about a year later.

  5. Les Edgerton says:

    Absolutely one of my favorites this year!

  6. […] Frank Sinatra in a Blender ( […]

Comments are closed.

Thomas Pluck writes unflinching fiction with heart. He is the author of Blade of Dishonor, Steel Heart: 10 Tales of Crime & Suspense, and Denny the Dent. He edits anthologies to benefit PROTECT: The National Association to Protect Children, and serves as their social media editor. He hosts Noir at the Bar in Manhattan with Todd Robinson at Shade, and has been known to enjoy a pint of beer and a sloppy cheeseburger.

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