Reviews in 200 Words

Crimes in Southern Indiana by Frank Bill

In Fiction, Story Collections on September 19, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Punch, jab, hook, beat–what you do with your fists, or how you describe Frank Bill’s stories, Crimes in Southern Indiana. His sentences are fists, too. Concussive, so much so that the subjects have jarred loose in many of them to leave you stunned. Frank Bill’s stories are violent–meth, guns, dead-beats, feuds, crooked sheriffs, pot, fuck-ups–but the violence isn’t gratuitous, only just. Even if almost all the characters end up dead in a story, there is empathy and redemption. He dedicates the book to his grandparents for teaching him the old ways and thanks his parents for telling him stories. His stories are as old as Indiana and her people, set by the old state capital in Corydon, creating a place in the present world out of our past. If those hills and bottomlands and steep-banked creeks that all tumble into the Ohio River could talk and grunt through their broken teeth, they would tell these stories. Frank Bill has heard them, like the hills inhaled him deep all the way to bedrock, like the water soaked through skin to brain and bone. Frank Bill’s stories resonate and crack.

-Kevin McKelvey


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