The Chaos We Know by Keith Rawson

The Chaos We Know by Keith RawsonIf you’ve read author Keith Rawson’s work before – and if you haven’t, why the hell not? – you know that his is a guerrilla warfare, take no prisoners style of writing. I mean, there’s a reason the man’s blog is called Bloody Knuckles Callused Fingertips.

The Chaos We Know, Rawson’s recently released collection, features over twenty of his short stories and represents a mixture of new offerings and previously published work. A few of the standouts…

“The Anniversary Weekend” conclusively demonstrates that crank is never an appropriate anniversary gift. When two reformed tweakers find themselves without the kids and with $100 to burn on their anniversary weekend they decide to cook up a batch of meth. The collapse into paranoia and brutality that follows is nothing short of epic. Definitely should have stuck with a nice cake.

“Three Cops” proves to be one too many for a strung-out junkie on a delivery run when what starts as a routine traffic stop for littering ends with a hostage situation in a rest stop bathroom. What happens in between, well, you have to read to believe. Let’s just say there is apparently nothing a junkie won’t do to hide his stash… and gun.

“The Sons of Greatness Take It In The Ass” takes the reality show craze and combines it with the current economic climate to great effect in this stark, but darkly humorous, offering. Having recently lost his union job to a crony of one of the wise guys who control the union leaders, a young family man comes up with a unique way to get both revenge and some money.

“Hide and Seek” is anything but child’s play. Strong-armed into babysitting for the four-year-old daughter of his boss, a man runs out to pick up a pizza and returns home to the horrific realization it probably wasn’t the brightest idea in the world to leave the little girl alone with his two rambunctious, mischievous young sons.

“Clinical Trial” is my favorite of the collection. Rawson takes the seemingly routine setup of an affair gone wrong to new depths of disturbing in this story, which also involves a scientist working on a top secret compound for the military, a cabin in the woods, and perhaps the most chilling last sentence I’ve ever read.

And those are but the tip of the Chaos iceberg. Every story in the collection offers a brutally vivid look into the lives of people who’ve either already hit the down button on their personal elevators to hell, or are standing on the precipice staring into that abyss.

I think it’s time for Keith to stop billing himself as “a little-known pulp writer” since it’s clear that he’s not only one of the hardest working members of the crime fiction community, he’s one of the most well-known, talented and respected as well.

The Chaos We Know is available for $2.99 from Snubnose Press at Amazon and Smashwords.

Editor Keith Rawson is a pulp writer whose short fiction, poetry, essays, reviews, and interviews have been widely published both online and in print. He is the author of the short story collection The Chaos We Know, publisher of Crime Factory Magazine, and is a regular contributor to LitReactor and Spinetingler Magazine. He lives in Southern Arizona with his wife and daughter. You can catch up with Keith on his blog, Bloody Knuckles Callused Fingertips.


  • Jason Duke

    November 8, 2011 - 7:47 PM

    This is the link, Elizabeth. Too bad the comments are closed, because that was where they had it out.

    I know there are more people who read Keith than that – he left out about two or three names! Only kidding.

    • Elizabeth A. White

      November 8, 2011 - 8:11 PM

      Thanks for the link. Saved my lazy-butt some searching.

      Damn, that’s… blunt. Funny how differently people can read the same story (at least I presume it didn’t undergo any rewrites). Whether it was intended to be or not, I read the story as wickedly dark humor – not face value serious – that had a nasty twist ending.

      Oh well, that just proves once again there’s a reason why they make chocolate and vanilla. And Cherry Garcia. 😉

  • Keith Rawson

    November 8, 2011 - 7:09 PM

    Jason – And to think me and Lindenmuth have been making kissy faces/flipping each other off ever since (but, seriously, there are few people as passionate about the crime fiction as Brian. I think the only person I’ve met with the same level of love is Jon & Ruth Jordan) BTW, I purposely put Clinical Trial in the collection to piss him off.

    Elizabeth & Sabrina – I don’t think little known pulp writer is going away anytime soon. Most days I think the only people who read me are Jason, Frank, and sometimes Neil. (And you, of course, Elizabeth) Once again, thanks for the great review!

    • Elizabeth A. White

      November 8, 2011 - 7:19 PM

      You’re quite welcome, but I’m not going to stop lobbying for you to drop the “little-known” tag anytime soon. 😉

      And now I’m curious about that review of Lindenmuth’s…

  • Jason Duke

    November 8, 2011 - 5:06 PM

    Very well done, Elizabeth. It’s kind of funny that your favorite is Clinical Trial because when that story first came out in Plots With Guns, Brian Lindemuth had slammed it over on the BSC review site. But then Keith fired back, and now he’s a staff writer for Spinetingler. Go figure!

  • Paul D Brazill

    November 8, 2011 - 2:35 PM

    Great collection, very nicely dissected!

  • Sabrina Ogden

    November 8, 2011 - 1:59 PM

    Excellent review, Elizabeth. I really can’t wait to read this collection.

    And, I agree with you, “… it’s time for Keith to stop billing himself as “a little-known pulp writer” since it’s clear that he’s not only one of the hardest working members of the crime fiction community, he’s one of the most well-known, talented and respected as well.”