KILL ‘EM WITH KINDNESS
Author: C.S. DeWildt
Publisher: All Due Respect
Release Date: May 2016
Maladjusted widower Nick Gillis grows marijuana and tries to avoid attracting the attentions of anyone who could make life uncomfortable for him. When he breaks his own rule by extricating damaged local beauty Kimmy Flynn from a dangerous situation at a bar however, it sets Nick on a collision course with her boyfriend, local crime kingpin Chad Toll. Chad’s motivations are far from clear, and rather than brutalise Nick, he welcomes him into his delinquent posse with open arms. Pressed into service as an errand boy for Chad – and a driver for Kimmy – Nick’s situation spirals into increasingly dark territory, until he figures out a way of wriggling free from Chad’s clutches – for good.
Kill ‘Em With Kindness is a brutally enjoyable slab of small town carnage. The plot may look like standard issue noir at first glance, but DeWildt is a details man, and the characters’ respective back stories are all embedded with nasty shards of life experience. The wealth of content occasionally spills over into self-indulgence – one superfluous plot strand ends with a random, gratuitous pay-off – but the provocative material is generally deployed to impressive effect.
There is an admirably nihilistic verve to DeWildt’s storytelling, and the writing itself is horribly good throughout. In addition, Chad Toll is a genuinely charismatic antagonist – a cut above most fictional small town criminals – and his own demons add further depth to the story. Kill ‘Em With Kindness hits like a pool ball to the skull, and if you like your noir weird and nasty, this book is well worth your time.
Reviewed by Tom Leins