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  • By Andrew Salmon
    Aug 22, 2008
    "An Impressive Debut!" The hardboiled genre has been with us a long time and it's darn near impossible to come up with something new, a different approach to the tried and true. Well, Jason Butkowski has done precisely that with Episodes From The Zero Hour, Volume One. "Knuckles" McNichols, the hero of this quartet of hardboiled fare, is as captivating a character to come out of the genre in a long time. This off-beat, memorable muscle for hire is down on his luck, up on life and ready to mix it up with any and all challengers. The stories, as well, are different than the norm though they keep that traditional flavor any hardboiled fans know so well. The anthology kicks off with Knuckles looking to even the score against a former boxing opponent who had made mince meat out of McNichols years before. The climax is one Spillane would have been proud of. Next up is a genuinely heart warming tale that gives us Knuckles, on the eve of eviction, trying to raise the... More > needed rent by tooling around the neighborhood doing good deeds for peanuts, chipping away at what he owes. The third installment has our intrepid, reluctant hero on the trail of a serial killer and the quartet rounds off with a nice dose of hardboiled with a twist. But Butkowski is not done there. The last piece in the book is a touching tale of redemption hardboiled style. This tale alone is worth the price of admission. The book is beautifully designed by Anthony Schiavino with a gorgeous cover by pulp artist extraordinare Douglas C. Klauba with interior art by Rob Davis and Jared Araujo. My only knock against the book is the lack of what John D. MacDonald used to call that "unobtrusive poetry" to the language. This is a small complaint as Volume One is a first effort by a writer marching steadfastly towards his voice. A voice which will clearly become more evident with subsequent volumes. So if you're a fan of hardboiled fiction, this one's for you. Don't miss it. Or Butkowski will sick Knuckles on you. Then, brother, you'll be in a world of hurt. Andrew Salmon author of THE FORTY CLUB: THE DARK LAND:< Less
  • By Erik Segerstrom
    Jul 7, 2008
    This is a wonderful example of everything coming full circle. We used to have tons of magazines and books with characters and stories that took us beyond our drudgery. Now we have super-powered angst. Some comics are still good, but I feel more connected to the more human, slightly powered characters of the pulps. The eastern trained fighters, the magicians, the two-fisted blokes. Knuckles is a perfect hardboiled, down on his luck guy and the writers are master craftsmen as you can SEE the action. Sadly, I'm not much of a reviewer myself, but I love this book and definitely looked forward to the second volume which I picked up right afterwards. I can't wait for number three, I'm hoping theres a Weird Game Hunter story in there.
  • By pfontana789
    May 27, 2008
    "Great Read!" Butkowski's writing and the accompanying illustrations by Araujo and Davis do an excellent job of capturing the essence of the old adventure reads. A fun series of short stories with the action, adventure, and mystery it promises. Highly recommend the read! Looking forward to the subsequent editions!
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Product Details

Jason Butkowski & Anthony Schiavino
December 7, 2007
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.5 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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