Monday, April 4, 2022

Review: Fallout From Our Asphalt Hell by Gabriel Hart

Fallout From Our Asphalt Hell by Gabriel Hart

If Charles Bukowski, Hunter S. Thompson, and Edgar Allen Poe were all summoned back from the dead to jointly work in a chemistry lab for the express purpose of creating a modern day story teller, the end result would take the form of Gabriele Hart. Where has he been? Licking his wounds, honing his craft, evolving, putting in those 10,000 necessary hours before being able to write fearlessly and with abandon. A musician, poet, and journalist Hart has forsaken the disorienting L A street scene in favor of the clarifying California high desert. His characters are frequently bizarre, hermetic, and uncaring; like the desert itself. Take them or leave them because they won’t change – they are what they are.

This collection of 20 fast-paced short stories cut to the quick.  There’s death, there’s suicide, there’s alcoholism, there’s hopeless drug addiction.  And, there are precious few characters to actually look up to. Hart provides a gutter lever glimpse of humanity that is not unlike a hideous car wreck; they’re simply too awful to look away from. Infidelity gone awry, botched contract killings, glorification of the anti-hero, out-patient sex change operations, an entire town’s economy propped up by dog fighting, invention of a drug that takes the user so high that death is the  only thing left to experience. A delicious and dizzying display of debauchery, dysfunction, and despicableness that leaves you shocked, occasionally revolted, and constantly turning the pages.

Fallout From Our Asphalt Hell defies genre description.  Are these stories punk, pulp, speculative, or heroin chic? At times they’re equal measures of all, and at other times they’re none of the above, but at all times they’re thoroughly entertaining. As Thompson would say: “Buy the ticket, take the ride.” You won’t be disappointed.

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 Review by John Krieg

Other recent books by Gabriel Hart

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