Print Length: 350 Pages
Publisher: All Due Respect Books
Publication Date: June 12, 2015
SUICIDE LOUNGE Synopsis: Selena has settled in to being a crime boss with her cronies at the Red Light Lounge. But when a sadistic drug dealer attempts a bloody takeover of their territory, loyalties are strained and alliances broken. All forces are aligned against Selena, including her most lethal enemy—her own self-destructive lifestyle. Never one to back away from a fight, Selena puts all chips on the table and lets the dice fly.
In SELENA, Greg Barth introduced us to his titular character and showed us several good and dead reasons why it’s a bad idea to fuck with her. In DIESEL THERAPY, the already adrenaline-fueled series ramped up the momentum and showed us a deeper, more sympathetic–though no less violent and self-destructive–side to Selena. I reviewed both of those books a few weeks ago (links below) and ended my review of DIESEL THERAPY with this: “With the first two books he didn’t just think outside the box, he planted a bomb and blew the fucking thing to pieces. Can he do it a third time?” Today I’m here to tell you that the answer is a resounding hell yes.
I love it when I discover a book that can capture my attention and my imagination so intensely that I literally get lost in the experience and find myself living in the author’s creation, rapt and willingly held captive by the work. Even better is to find a whole series of books that can do that. The Selena series is just such a thing. I read the first two 300-400 page books as fast as I normally read an 80 page novella, completely unaware of the passing time while I was absorbed in Selena’s brutal, often rage driven story. And if anyone thought the phenomena that is Greg Barth was a fluke, SUICIDE LOUNGE, the third book in the series, should dispel any such nonsensical notions.
It’s somehow appropriate that I’m listening to Megadeth’s album, “Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying” while writing this review because, like it’s predecessors, there is no such thing as peace in SUICIDE LOUNGE. Barth once again takes his readers on a turbo charged, drug-induced joyride of violence and blood soaked vengeance as Selena, not one to sit back and wait for her enemies, brings the fight straight to the source of her troubles, leaving bodies in her wake like tumbled dominoes. Barth is a true master of action and dialogue and that’s what makes this, like all his books, such a fast and entertaining read.
SUICIDE LOUNGE cements the fact that Greg Barth is a storyteller who can stand with the best in the business, and that isn’t hyperbole. He has, as he put it, “[a] discomfiting awareness of the darker things out there in the world” and he lets that darkness bleed through in gouts of suffering and brutality. He’s all about the story and that fact is blatantly clear in his work. With a minimal amount of expository prose, he’s able to build his world so vividly and and realistically, his settings picture perfect, his characters so intensely real you almost feel their anger and their pain, and he does it almost exclusively through exceptional dialogue and turbo-charged action, relying on his mastery of storytelling rather than flowery prose or long passages of description to drive his narrative.
As with the other two books in the series, SUICIDE LOUNGE is pure, pulse-pounding entertainment right from the start and once it gets it’s hooks into you, it won’t easily let go, nor will you want it to. I loved the hell out of all three of these books and, if you love your crime noir heavy with blood, violence, and a little southern-fried goodness, you’ll love it too. Be forewarned though, the three books that make up this series are an interconnected, ongoing story and you will not get near the full enjoyment potential if you read them out of sequence. And don’t start these things unless you have some time on your hands. These aren’t books that are going to let you read them a moment or two at a time. They want to own you and they will certainly do so. Check out Greg Barth’s Amazon author page to learn more about him and to buy his books. And keep your eye out for SUICIDE LOUNGE, coming from All Due Respect Books on April 1st.