One Bullet, Two Shots by Jason S. Ridler

One Bullet, Two Shots by Jason S. Ridler First introduced in the Spar Battersea thriller Death Match, professional wrestler Keith “The Bullet” Winnick offered readers a tantalizing glimpse at a character that begged for his own showcase.

And while we’ve not gotten a full length offering built around him yet, One Bullet, Two Shots does provide a nice double-dip of short stories that flesh out Winnck’s history.

Heart Punch Blues takes place in 1982 at a time when “The Bullet” was a well-known character on the professional wrestling circuit, though one who’d never made the jump to the big time. Far from being a pretty boy, and lacking smooth talking mic skills, “The Bullet” seemed destined to be nothing more than a jobber (designated loser) and second tier heel (villain). Until the night of the match that changed his life forever, the match that gave “The Bullet” and his signature heart punch finishing move a deadly legend he’d never be able to live up to…or down.

Dark Match Champ takes place two years after that fateful night in 1982. Now at the top of the professional wrestling pyramid, Winnick has learned the hard way that one really does have to be careful what they wish for, especially in a business where ungodly demands are put on one’s body in order to keep performing. Taking some time off for the Christmas holiday, Dark Match Champ finds Winnick waiting incognito in a bus station to travel home and see his young daughter. Hoping to cash in on his fame and get a quickie with a woman also waiting for her bus to arrive, Winnick follows her to the bathroom where he gets something entirely different than what he was expecting. A “dark match” in wrestling is one that takes place either before or after the televised show, and in this story “The Bullet” finds himself in the dark match fight of his life.

You don’t have to be a fan of professional wrestling to enjoy these stories, but those who are will find a special joy in author Jay Ridler’s easy familiarity with the sport’s lingo. Heart Punch Blues takes place almost entirely during the course of a wrestling match, and Ridler beautifully interweaves wonderful descriptions of the action with the dialog, both that which is taking place between the two wrestlers as well as Winnick’s inner dialog. It’s like getting a little Pro Wrestling 101 class along with the actual meat of the story, and Ridler is a very talented teacher.

One Bullet, Two Shots: A Double Shot of Stories is available as an e-book at Amazon.

Jay Ridler is the author of the Spar Battersea thrillers Death Match and Con Job, Knockouts, a short story collection, and has published over fifty short stories in such magazines and anthologies as Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Brain Harvest, Not One of Us, Chilling Tales, Tesseracts Thirteen, and more. His popular non-fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Dark Scribe, and the Internet Review of Science Fiction. A former punk rock musician and cemetery groundskeeper, Mr. Ridler holds a Ph.D. in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada. To learn more about Jay Ridler visit his blog, Ridlerville, or find him on Facebook and Twitter

1 Comment

  • sabrina ogden

    August 23, 2012 - 6:58 PM

    Great review, Elizabeth. Ridler is a writing machine…