Fierce Bitches is blackhearted noir at its best

As a writer of fiction, I'd like to think I learn something from each of the novels I read, even the bad ones. But I don't often find myself wishing I'd actually written them. Even my favorites, even the ones I love, I'm content to experience them without feeling like I should have had it in me to write them. 

But I do kind of wish I'd written Fierce Bitches. Not just that I'd thought of the idea for the story, but also had the chops to pull it off in such a hard-hitting and haunting way.

The set up for Fierce Bitches is pure noir gold, and reminds me in a way of the ending for Jim Thompson's classic novel The Getaway (I won't get into it here, just read The Getaway, it's good). I'm also a sucker for stories set in Mexico, so when I read this description from Amazon I couldn't resist:

Across the border lies Politoburg: hell on earth, home to putas, punks and psychos. 
Escape is not in the stars, redemption is not in the cards, but reckoning might just be on the menu. 
Stand back. The pit is about to spit something back out. 

If you liked Coyote, or hardboiled noir in general, definitely check out Jedidiah Ayers. Fierce Bitches is the first book by him I've read, but I'll definitely be checking out his other work soon. It's a quick read, and definitely worth your time.

The Getaway
By Jim Thompson

About the Coyote cover (thank you Mr. Ben Rebant)

You've seen the cover. Now it's time for me to talk about the crazy drama behind it.*

This post is not really about the cover of Coyote, but about the man behind it. 

A lot of times, I'll try to design my own stuff. I do this because I'm cheap and, like many people, I think I'm better  at photoshop than I really am. The stuff I do myself is fine, I guess, in that it get's the point across and it saves me money. 

I actually tried to do the cover for Coyote myself, and the cover I created was OK. I'd like to think it wouldn't have ended up on Lousy Book Covers, but that's probably just wishful thinking. And even if it was OK, I didn't want a cover that was OK. I wanted a cover that was fantastic.

Ben Rebant crawls heroically out of a bone-dry gulch in the desert while researching for the Coyote cover

Ben Rebant crawls heroically out of a bone-dry gulch in the desert while researching for the Coyote cover

So let me tell you about this guy I work with. He keeps the schedule of a senior citizen and can be found home in bed most nights before 9pm. He ranks restaurants based on the quality of their nachos, delights in watching bad movies, tweets only about the weather, and is the nicest guy I've met. He also happens to be my favorite graphic designer. I'm talking about Mr. Ben Rebant.

Ben often tweets about the weater

Ben often tweets about the weater

I'm lucky enough to work with Ben and I know he's a really busy guy who likes to be in bed by 9:00 at the latest, 8:30 if possible, even 8:00 if he can manage it. Which is why I was feeling like an asshole when I asked him to help me with my book cover. But Ben told me (lied?) he was excited to do it, and long story short, I ended up with a cover that's so fantastic I'm not sure the story it advertises does it justice. I don't know if it's the most commercial cover (it doesn't follow a genre formula) but it's exactly what I wanted: A cover for a book that I would pick up if I were at a bookstore.

Ben really screwed himself over with this one, because now I'm going to beg him to do my next cover, and the one after that, etc, not to mention many other things, like the kickass bookmark he made for me to give out to people. 

By the way, if you'd like to print out that kickass bookmark on card stock and use it mark your pages, you're completely welcome to do so. Just click here for the full-sized pdf.

So anyway, this post is just a long-winded way for me to say THANK YOU to Ben for making a cover I love.

If you've written a book and are looking for a fantastic cover, you can't do better than Ben Rebant. He's super easy to work with, his rates are reasonable, he's got a ton of experience, and his taste is impeccable. If you'd like to hire him, shoot him an email at

Also, You can buy Coyote here. 

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*I'm lying, of course. There was actually zero drama behind the Coyote cover. All that happened was I asked my busy designer friend Ben to do the cover, and he came with several really cool options that were hard for me to choose between. But I did choose an option, and then Ben made some changes that made it even better. 

Download the bookmark to go with your print copy of  Coyote

Download the bookmark to go with your print copy of Coyote

FATALE by Manchette is a shotgun blast of a noir novel

Fatale (New York Review Books Classics)
By Jean-Patrick Manchette

This shotgun blast of a noir novel hits hard and is over fast, and I enjoyed every second of it. It's my favorite type of story--the kind with no good guys, just characters who are varying levels of bad.

Fatale was written by Jean-Patrick Manchette in 1977. Manchette's a French crime novelist who's credited with reinventing the genre. There he is below, smoking a cigarette beneath an impressive mane of 1970's hair.

Manchette basically takes the classic femme fatale character from noir fiction (the one who always double crosses the protagonist and leads him to his downfall) and makes her the protagonist. Aimèe is an attractive and deadly woman who goes from town to town, manipulating rich men and murdering for money. Most of the action takes place in Blèville, where she sets up her biggest score yet and then--SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT--has a change of heart, which leads to here eventual downfall. 

The novel works as a hard-hitting crime story, but with lots of existentialism and satire, and while it's not overtly political, politics are definitely in the subtext. If yo dug my novel Coyote, you might dig this one as well.

Bran is a writer of fiction. His debut novel Coyote is available now on iTunes, Amazon, Kobo and more. Want a free story?  Sign up for Bran's newsletter The Lowdown and he'll send you an ebook download.