I am new to the Bishop Rider universe and the dark, sleezy, crime infested world that he haunts. Like a spectral shadow creeping through the night Rider deals out heaping doses of vigilante justice upon the bottom of the barrel scum and villainy of the world. BRAND NEW DARK by Beau Johnson gives us the low down on Rider’s dirty deeds, from when it all started to near the end and everything in between.
The stories in this collection are like a collage of snapshots depicting the life of Rider scattered across the tabletop. Each one you pick up causes the memories of those people, places, and events to come flooding back as we the readers get to witness the proverbial hands that have moulded Bishop Rider into the killing machine of a man that he has become.
Fueled by an all consuming revenge, is Bishop Rider a good guy just taking out the trash of the world or is he a bad guy cleaning up the filth of worse men? Through all the pain inflicted, the torture, the death, has he become just as bad as the men that he hunts? Is his soul any less damned?
BRAND NEW DARK by Beau Johnson is a tour de force in how to write painful to read raw and gritty violence. Just like Rider, Johnson pulls no punches and takes no names in executing (no pun intended) these tales with clean, sharp, and at times witty prose. I will definitely be coming back for more of Johnson’s work in the future. Long live the dark stuff!
Here is a brief summary of my thoughts on each story contained within this collection.
COMING HOME - Retribution for the sins of the past. Time to burn them all.
SLICK RIBBON - When exterminating vermin you have to make sure you get the whole nest. Heads will roll.
NAILED - Serving up justice crucifixion style. This story filled in some information about certain characters and how they connect with Bishop Rider which was nice.
THE AUCTIONEER - Not the kind of things you’d normally bid on at an auction.
MEN OF THE CLOTH - Missing limbs, dirty men, and some good ole fashion neck snapping.
THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES - Even when someone turns snitch they can’t avoid the hammer of justice.
MAMA WESTMORELANDS’S SON - Selling bootleg snuff film tapes is a new kind of low. Welcome to the kill box.
NEW TOYS - A bit of Frankenstein’s monster mixed with a Silence of the Lambs vibe.
LATE TO THE GAME - There is no statute of limitations on one’s desire for revenge. Time doesn’t always heal all wounds.
FOR BATISTA - Patience is a virtue and the pigs are hungry, always.
IT NEVER CHANGES - Necrophilia, corrupt surgeons, organ black market, and some shark bait.
BOWELS IN, BOWELS OUT - The taste of your own medicine can be awfully bitter. Some people should give more credence to the saying “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
BEFORE THE STORM - Things as they were before those things started to fall apart. Foster parents taking advantage of the system and of the kids they were supposed to care for and protect.
UPSTANDING CITIZENS - Anyone can have a secret life. The good neighbor, the sports coach, the teacher, the person with the #1 Mom or Dad coffee mug. Some citizens aren't very upstanding at all.
JUDGMENT FROM ABOVE - You've probably heard the song "Jesus, Take The Wheel". Well, sometimes he doesn't take that wheel and leaves and people catch a face full of concrete at maximum velocity.
PRECAST AND REINFORCED - No one gets off that easily. If at first you don't succeed try, try again.
MISSION BOUND/POT COMMITTED - From greasy mechanics to slick bankers Bishop Rider knows how to send a message. Gotta go all in.
LONG PAST GONE - Mistakes from the past coming back to haunt. Don't forget that dead men tell no tales.
THE BEGINNING OF THE END - Just like the title of the story says this is the beginning of the end. Of better days (are they really better?) since past. Of inevitable betrayal on the horizon.
GREATER THAN THE SUM OF MY PARTS - The big machine eats and it is never satiated, just like the ball of revenge burning away within Bishop Rider.
CALL ME ISHMAEL - When you stack up as many bodies as Bishop Rider has eventually people take notice. Some people may even decide to come after you. You may even turn into someone's white whale.
DAYS OF BODY PARTS PAST - The team gets smaller, reduced by a head. The man responsible gets smaller piece by piece, inch by inch, as the months go by.
CODA - A regaling of events from the beginning where this all started to how we ended up here in this particular basement, at this particular point in time.
THE BOTTOM OF THINGS - When you get to the end, to the bottom of things, you can’t go back for a do over. What’s done is done and the things you’ve done, the things you’ve seen, those are part of you now, for better or for worse.
OLD MAN RIDER - One that got away, flew under the radar, a person whose existence was unknown, until now. It’s years later but revenge still waits, revenge doesn’t forget. A man named Proctor (no relation I promise) maybe thinks he is in the free and clear now, but maybe he cashed that check a bit too soon.
4/5 Stars. Reviewed by Brad Proctor : YouTube Reviews
I received a digital copy of this book from the author for review consideration.