In Tough Guys (US), Matt Phillips delivers a really interesting collection of short stories and flash pieces that I recommend you go and check out.
There’s a good deal of variety, which means every beginning brings the excitement of the new and unexpected. The stories also have a lot in common – tight writing, great voice, strong dialogue when required, interesting settings and the careful handling of an idea.
The tough guys in question all have their own histories. Some have been born to brutality and some have had it thrust upon them. As they play their hands, there are winners and losers among them. Some of them even come into contact with some tough gals along the way. Take Sandy from the diner, for example. Or the six-year old girl from my own personal favourite of this excellent bunch, No Sé.
Phillips plays around with the colourful palette of his talent with great skill. He uses it to deliver a punch, to create the poetic and to provoke thought. Best of all, he uses it to tell tales that deserve to be savoured.
Phillips has also written the excellent Redbone, which I heartily recommend, and the tasty looking Bad Luck City, which I very much look forward to diving into in the very near future.