Monday, December 31, 2012
Review of Dig Two Graves by Eric Beetner (Snubnose Press, 2011)
Dig Two Graves is a dark, action-packed tale of revenge thickly laced with gallows humour that rattles along a quick clip. As a novella, it’s a short, quick read, yet there’s a lot packed into the story as it twists and turns to its bloody conclusion. The premise has a great hook - a hardened, slightly homophobic criminal has unwittingly fallen for his former cellmate, now criminal partner, who has sold him out. He keeps telling himself it was just sex, but his heart is telling him otherwise. Given the betrayal, he’s not simply seeking retribution but the revenge of a lover scorned. And his need to carefully plan has been cast aside in favour of reacting instinctively. The characterisation and plotting is spot on and Beetner writes in tight prose with an engaging voice that is all show and no tell. The story could have easily been spun out into a full novel, as with similar types of tales such as The Ice Harvest by Scott Phillips or Small Crimes by Dave Zeltserman, but nevertheless works very well as novella. Overall, a humorous, gritty slice of noir.