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THE SAVAGE by Frank Bill


by Frank Bill

Pub Date: Nov. 14th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-374-53441-7
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The nasty, violent world of Donnybrook (2013) returns with a vengeance, and it’s spread across the country.

The U.S. dollar has crashed, leading militias of Disgruntled Americans to destroy the nation’s power grid and society along with it. “Scavengers, militias and the horde” plunder the land, and gangs have become the ruling class across the country. “Seems many a folk has lost they way,” opines the Widow Alcorn. She lives in southern Indiana, where young survivor Van Dorn shoots a doe for food. His father, Horace, always warned him that this day was coming, when a man must kill or be killed. Horace taught his son: “Do what you must to others and abandon weakness.” Now Van Dorn searches for the men who are kidnapping women and children and enslaving them. In particular, he wants to free a girl named Sheldon, a family acquaintance who was raised much like he was. Along the way, he meets a man who’s survived on “the meat of man, woman, and child.” Another man, named Scar, has hair “black as a rotted avocado.” The pages are filled with dark energy and Technicolor gore. When Van Dorn shoots a boar, “pieces of pork spine greased the air.” Chainsaw Angus shoots a man, and “blood spewed like a blown head gasket.” And as if these good folks don’t have enough mayhem in their lives, they can look forward to the Donnybrook, which readers of the author’s first novel will recognize as “a festival of carnage” where people do lots of drugs and sex and pay to watch men beat each other senseless. Combining these novels with his short story collection, Crimes in Southern Indiana, Bill isn’t painting any Chamber of Commerce image of the state.

No lack of excitement in this well-told tale, but it’s holy-crap grim. May the author’s ugly, brutish world remain forever fiction.