Riot Load by Bryon Quertermous

The time I tried to capture my thesis advisor, three people ended up dead and I spent a significant amount of time in my own trunk. — Dominick Prince

There’s the easy way to do things, and there’s the hard way to do things. And then there’s the Dominick Prince way to do things. If given the choice and easy’s not an option, take the hard way over the Prince way.

Having somehow survived the kidnapping and murderous adventures he found himself caught up in during series debut Murder Boy, Riot Load opens with Prince seemingly having obtained everything he nearly lost all chasing after. He landed the book deal he desperately craved, has a happy marriage, and his first child is on the way.

Instead of dedicating himself to working on his next novel, however, Prince has continued in his dead-end administrative assistant job at the Detroit State University Cancer Center. His recent transfer to the center’s sperm lab is not the best career move for him, but it is the perfect “in” a friend needs for a special favor. Prince being Prince, things get really weird, really fast.

Seems his friend wants him to sneak into the sperm lab after hours and steal the sample her now-deceased boyfriend left during his treatment for prostate cancer. Which would be an odd enough request as is, but the deceased also happened to be Prince’s brother-in-law, and Prince’s gun-toting bounty hunter wife is not thrilled with the idea. Far from it, actually. Throw in a couple of goons who also seem to be after the sample, a notorious mobster, various law enforcement agencies, and Prince’s own piss-poor judgment (“You’ll never be safe, Dominick. If it’s not this it’ll be the next thing. You’re your own worst enemy and you’re the worst enemy of everyone around you.” ) and you’re in for one hell of a warped ride.

As he did in Murder Boy, author Bryon Quertermous once again brings his unique mix of outrageous plot, gallows humor, and pull no punches violence to bear in dropping Prince into the grinder. And once again the reader gets to follow along via the internal musings of honest to a fault narrator Prince, who at least shows some raised level of self-awareness following the events of Murder Boy. Make no mistake, Prince is still making some spectacularly bad decisions—what fun would the book be if he weren’t?—but at least this go ‘round his thought process is more sound, even if the outcomes aren’t.

Readers will be happy to know that a third entry in the series, Trigger Switch, is on deck for this year. It’s scheduled to be the last in what was always planned as a trilogy, which is probably good for Dominick Prince, ‘cause I’m not sure exactly how much more the poor guy can take.

Riot Load is available from Polis Books.

Bryon Quertermous was born and raised in Michigan. His short stories have appeared in Plots With Guns, Thuglit, and Crime Factory among others, and in the anthologies Hardcore Hardboiled, The Year’s Finest Crime, Mystery Stories, and Uncage Me. He currently lives outside of Detroit with his wife and kids. You can learn more about Bryon and his work by visiting his website.

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