You want to damn a fella with faint praise? Try this: Todd Robinson is the reason I consider myself a crime writer.
Get the slings and arrows out of the way: “Why’d you have to go and do that, Big Daddy Thug?” (I did return the favor, publishing his Derringer-nominated “Peaches” in Grift #1. UPDATE: He just earned an Anthony nod for the story as well.)
He did it for me the way he did it for a lot of folks. As editor of the once-late-lamented now back and better than ever Thuglit, Robinson shepherded many writers into print. At the same time, like most of us on that side of the editor/writer divide, he was slaving away on his own stuff, cranking out short stories and working on a novel.
Anyone who paid attention knew about that novel. The Hard Bounce. A gritty crime tale drawn from Robinson’s own years working the door at some fine drinking establishments. He wore his heart on his sleeve, writing candidly about the frustrating path to — well, if not publication, perhaps “serial rejection” is the better term.
Anyone who knew Robinson knew that wasn’t an indication of quality. It was an indication that it hadn’t found its home yet. Fast forward a couple of years, and here it is, The Hard Bounce, out now on Tyrus Books, one of the best, most-adventurous independent houses out there. Of course this is where Robinson was meant to land. Ben LeRoy and his team are the right people to push this book.
Now that you have a chance to read it, you should do so without pause. There are Boo and Junior, two wisecracking club bouncers. There is a missing girl. A politician. A retired cop. Runaways. Violence. Humor. Etc. Etc. And the best news of all? Spoiler alert: Robinson says he’s working on a sequel.