Michael J. Seidlinger, The Laughter of Strangers (Lazy Fascist Press, 2013)

As an ex-boxer, I felt this book of 12 rounds of rumbling in the mental psychoses of WILLEM FLOURES, a onetime wunderkind now aging pugilist. We come to meet him as he is losing his abilities (the always present worry of every boxer) in the ring/taking unnecessary punches/losing the motivation to train. In short, he is fast turning into a HAS-BEEN. So the novel reads like a poetic Diary of his thoughts n musings. Almost reads like a fight itself: jabbing prose, floating negative experiences like a bee. Doubts n worries come against the brutality of a sport that maybe/oughta be BANNED for real. Butt FLOURES has survived it for decades. And now has just lost an important fight to another up n comer as the book opens. Signaling the End. And this is a problem because its an END he is not ready for. What boxer ever is (Sugar Ray Robinson & Leonard and Ali …. the list is long … all who stayed one punch too long in the ring). In fact, Floures is named SUGAR WILLEM FLOURES in the tradition of the SWEET boxing SCIENCE of those other legendary SUGARS. Because he was OH SO SWEET wit his Southpaw punches once. Now his MIND/MEMORY is going. Or is it. Hard to tell for him sometimes. Floures knows one thing for sertain: he doesn’t wannabe LAUGHED at by an audience full of STRANGERS who show up for Blood. He feels that existential crisis to his bones. Yet he can’t bring himself to admit it’s over for him. He doesn’t have it anymore. Butt what would he be without SELF PITY, huh? As Floures says himself: “I dont make sense as a Fighter.” This novel is also a social commentary on the sport itself: how its filled wit LIES to promote (peep the plan Floures and his Manager SPENCER devise to hype the rematch wit X), the CHEATING/BOUGHT Judges. Years ago this joint may have been in the pages of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED written by GEORGE PLIMPTON or NORMAN MAILER—hell, or even HUNTER S. THOMPSON. It feels GONZO in some respects. BOXING NOIR comes to mind as well. Its a Raw/Brutal insider look at a MAN who once WAS and is now no longer IS and the Desperation he feels as it all seems to be slipping away like a DUCKED BLOW. Read this potent/powerful book by MICHAEL SEIDLINGER!! The DECISION is in your hands.


Shane Jesse Christmas, Belfie Hell (Inside the Castle, 2018)


BELFIE HELL is dat slick lick, baby. And SHANE JESSE CHRISTMAS is one of dem peeps hoo writes Novels dat aint Novels and are in fack ANTI-NOVEL. Hell, maybe even AGAINST the novel. Cuz this book aint for you peeps hoo love a straight out narrative. This joint is crooked n criminal wit how it breaks the law bout WUT a book shood be. And I love dat shit. The PROFANE & the PROFOUND collide in this joint and goes upside Yo head and expectations. Inside it MASTER P goes SWEATY meets GOTH dranks SOUR MILK (or sumpen like dat …. U jes gotta read it fo yo self). Shit gits said bout how we live cuz the book is a decided comment on society while rebooting thawts regards a fallen world. U dont so much as READ this book as much as you ABSORB its meaning/yadigg?? SHANE is 1 of mah favorite writers in this New World Order on a very shawt list. Read all his books. Butt this one is like the CULMINATION of all the otha ones before it. U gotta read this a lil bit-at-a-time so U properly digest it. U mite peep influences of PIERRE GUYOTAT (see Eden Eden Eden) and EDOUARD LEVE (see AUTOPORTRAIT) in heah butt aint nUthing rong wit dat. Cuz SHANE has flipped wut they did into his own Flow of IDEAS. This book is an instant classic. And I dip into it n read it constantly. This is like wordhiphop wit a social consciousness. And is heralds the future of the NOVEL THAT AINT A NOVEL. Anyway the standard Novel is DEAD. Long Live BELFIE HELL, baby.




Kelby Losack, Hurricane Season (Ugly Child, 2021)


I was scanning Amazon late at nite/looking for dat good shit. Dat NEW shit. Dat CUTTING-EDGE shit. Dat DISRUPTIVE NOVELISTIC shit when I came across a joint by a writer name of KELBY LOSACK. His joint was titled HURRICANE SEASON. Seeing as how RUBIN “Hurricane” CARTER is one of mah favorite Boxers-I clicked to read da Synopsis. Sounded hip. It was written by a young/white Bro. Hmmmm. Lemme see I says to mahself. I anted up da loot/got to reading. AND: da shit was GOOD. Da Riddim was almost RAP-like. LINE BREAKS outta order. The STORY an unusual DRUG TALE of two ne’er do well DRUG DEALERS caught up in a Hurricane. This coulda been called THE LAST DRUG DEALERS ON EARTH. They cum into contact wit a KRAZY-ass RACCOON hoo wont DIE. The thang bout LOSACK and his writing is he done brought a Kool way of mixing Urban Fiction/Horror and Supernaturalism from a WHITE point of view dat in many ways reads BLACK. Butt its done wit RESPECT for da GAME. Like any good rapper there are throw away lines in this joint dat keep ya reading and wanting to Memorize em. Like the discussion bout “BIG FOOT living in PARALLEL WORLDS wit CHUPACABRA and all that shit.” So throw in SCI-FI n PARANORMAL meanderings in this muthafucka, too. And BROTHA LOSACK makes it all work to 2getha for The Good, baby!! This is sum new form of Novel Writing U aint seent before. And KELBY along wit (GRANT WAMACK, anutha writer I’ve cum across) are launching grenades and BLOWING up GENRES and the Old Skool Method of Writing Novels. Git U Sum.



S.M. Steven, Ill Behaviour (CLASH Books, 2021)


ILL BEHAVIOR (pubbed by CLASH BOOKS) is one of those books wit a 4ward thinking flow in a kinda GRAFITTIPUNK/GRAFITTIFUNK drop of prose bout a Grafitti artist named SOBR hoo gits framed 4 MURDER after he witnesses a KILLING while performing his latest THROW-UP on a Billboard.

M STEVENS S breathes life into the novel wit this mix of hip songs/lyrics and thought forms. I like how he divides up the pages to show TEXT messages as part of the narrative. Then when u add in the METAPHYSIKAL mixx juxtaposed against the POLITIKAL Diatribes by a character kalled the STERN ONE U git a deep message dat speaks to a lotta shit dats rong wit HUMAN muthafuckaz. To wit: we so easily SELL OUT for SUPERFICIAL Glory. And seem always 2 B chasing afta FLEETING FAME frum ILL peeps. Thats summa da ILLEST BEHAVIOR for yo ass/ya digg?? This is a true URBAN MYSTERY round The City of LOST ANGELS which be those hoo seem 2 have FALLEN for the OKEY DOKE. I felt this cuz the message whudden PREACHY. Jes TEACHY moments dat go to da core. The book opens wit a lyric by ANDRE 3000 and then kontinues to drop salient rap/song lyrics. Like da one by DRAKE in the song FANCY where he says: “hair done/nails done/everything did” when SOBR meets n peeps a particularly bad bitch. If U like mee u also will digg the constant Pop Kulture References thru-out. NOAM CHOMSKY shows up. Dat GREEK Chorus styling was masterful. So wile we watch SOBR try to figger out hoo FRAMED him we also are left wit the Prophecy hanging over his head dat he will DIE un-expectedly before he finds out hoo did it in this Hip WHODUNNIT? M STEVENS brought da Pain wit this game changer. I had vizions of WILLIAM GIBSON wishing he cood write as hip as this. Peep this new voice. Thank me lata, jack. And watch out 4 ya Adrenal Medulla


Toni Cade Bambara, The Salt Eaters (Random House, 1980)


TONI CADE BAMBARA is anutha one of mah Writing Gods. Since mah Mama taught me how to read/write I tend to like a lotta Wommin Writers hoo slang da werd. And Sista TONI was among da best. She exploded the AAVE/African American Vernacular English dat got TWITTER hot like FISH GREASE back WEN—n became a thang. Butt she (along wit GAYL JONES….prolly mah FAVORITE writer overall) was the 1st to really set dat Game of Verbiage off in the modern day=late 70s/early 80s. Evident wit SALT EATERS (1979) dat taps into dat HOODOO dat Wee DOO n BLACK FOLKLORE (dat white publishing industry folk luv to kall MAGICAL REALISM n associate wit mostly LATIN Writers like GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ/MILAN KUNDERA & JORGE LUIS BORGES—wich is jes sum MARKETING BULLSHIT….cuz its jes FOLKLORE based on ORACULAR GRIOTS).

Butt anyway: in da book—a Strong Black Womayne/Activist named VELMA going thru existential crisis/mental disturbance to da point of wanting to Off herself gits linked wit SPIRITUAL DIVA ELDER named MAMA MINNIE to help her SHAKE DA SHIT OFF. And it gits hella inter-resting.

Hmmmm….sounds exactly like da shit a lotta black peeps going thru today/having existential crisis due to Todays politikal climate.

Cuz dis aint no straightforward story!! Not da way TONI writes. The PROSE FLOWS in EXPERIMENTAL Doses/Speculations n Affirmations bump heads/yimme??!! Present n Past Tense in da same paragraph. Shit is LITERARY PHYSICS wile yall bullshitting!! Cuz dis how Niggaz talk fo real: PAST & PRESENT kan exist at da same time in one SPIT. Butt Uon see dat in no MFA WRITIN SKOOL. And U WONT!! They dont write like dis heah no mo. Cuz dey CAINT!! Unfortunately—Jes like AMIRI BARAKA—she only wrote ONE novel. And dis it. And its a MASTERFUL/MASTERPIECE of MASSIVE SPECULATIVE Fiction befo it was even SPECULATED. And I mean Massive not in pages (250)/butt in IMPACT. Meanwile: also read GORILLA, MY LOVE if u caint git enuff of SISTA BAMBARA.


Donald Goines, Daddy Cool (Holloway House Publishing Company, 1974)


I now present 2 U one of the baddest opening sentences in the history of PULP FICTION WRITING:

“Larry Jackson, better known as “Daddy Cool,” stepped on the litter-filled street in the town of Flint, Michigan. His prey, a slim, brown-complexioned man, walked briskly ahead. He was unaware that he was being followed by one of the deadliest killers the earth had ever spawned.”

Hyperbole/Melodrama/Superhero type-a-shit and speaks to the heart of Brothaz like me raised in the confines of the Ghetto and understand this language. Because Innercity/Ghetto-speak is layered wit Extravaganza and Hyperbolic verbiage u usually find in comicbooks. Niggaz live SUPERHERO lives tho, ya digg?? Thus a lotta shit we say GOTTA B over the top slop when we rappin to ya.

A story about a BLACK HIT MAN/who is an expert KILLER wit KNIVES. Killing by NITE, Raising a Family wit all the DRAMA by DAY. The story is so Ghetto BAD its actually DAMN GOOD!! Full of TROPES riding on HOPE: a hard-headed Daughter/A Bad Attitude Wife. Everybody fulla dat HOOD HOLY GHOST. COPS fulla KORRUPT Blood. And so it goes.

DADDY COOL reads like a Graphic Superhero Comicbook/Novel in many ways. In fact, it was turned into a Graphic Novel, authored by DON GLUT, the same writer of the second STAR WARS, EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

Meanwhile: if U A FAN of Goines U already know how this book will END: Bad!! Aint no Happy Endings in a Donald Goines book. Tupac said only GOD CAN JUDGE ME. Not, in Goines’ Book. He JUDGE/GOD and EXECUTIONER and U gone GIT Yours, baby.

What U kan count on tho is that there is a MORAL to the STORY.

Butt that too, is Never what U thought it would Be.

DONALD GOINES was a MASTER of BLACK PULP FICTION. Pulp Fiction, period!!

Lovers of DONALD GOINES all insist this is was his BEST joint (altho the KENYATTA series is a close second).

Trivia Sidenote: JAMES H. READIS wrote a similar black pulp joint called MERCHANTS OF DEATH about a Black Hit Man that came out the same year (1974). And while it was written better (see my upcoming review) it wasnt quite as Sick.

Duvay Knox DuVay Knox is the author of 3 Books including The Pussy Detective (Clash Books), The Soul Collector (Creative Onion) and SPITestament (Black Pulp Fiction Publishing House). A country-speaking Mississippian who splits time in St Louis, you can find him on Substack where he writes a publication called The Legendary Teachings of Pimpfucius "THE LEGENDARY 𝐓𝐄𝐀𝐂𝐇𝐈𝐍𝐆𝐒 𝐎𝐅 𝐏𝐈𝐌𝐏𝐅𝐔𝐂𝐈𝐔𝐒" | Substack or via email  at duvayknox@yahoo.com

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