Joe Ricker writes with a voice reminiscent of Jim Thompson and Raymond Carver.
This collection of stories is set in the darkest corners of New England, where the damaged American underbelly emerges. The characters in these stories will challenge every notion you have of right and wrong, and you’ll quickly realize that you’ve probably passed some of the characters in these stories on the streets. Be glad you kept walking.
Walkin’ After Midnight is a searing and poignant representation of the shadowy side of humanity, the part of our culture that we don’t want to believe exists. But it does, and the author that Esquire referred to as “A man of letters who’s gentle in the way that only the toughest of hard-asses can be” has brought it to your doorstep.
Praise for WALKIN’ AFTER MIDNIGHT:
“Joe Ricker is a hard-boiled poet in the tradition of Charles Bukowski. He writes of lonely, scarred men, damaged women, and of haunted places we all know. These shorts are served straight up with no chaser. Like the best of noir, it’s about people with few options and often no way out. Highly recommended.”—Ace Atkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Forsaken and The Redeemers
“Tough yet lyrical, bristling with hard-won wisdom, these stories knock you out of any comfort zone you may have found and into the red. Ricker knows people, violence and landscape. He knows truth, too. And these stories beat their fists like drums.”—Tom Franklin, New York Times bestselling author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
“Joe Ricker’s stories are like windows with ragged blinds twisted open to reveal the lives that go on all around us, in spite of us, and sometimes are us. His characters are dark, desperate, and fascinatingly vivid. Read Ricker and have your eyes opened.”—Gerry Boyle, international bestselling author of Once Burned, a Jack McMorrow mystery
“Walkin’ after Midnight crackles with danger, and this noir collection of short stories announces Joe Ricker as a provocative new talent. His plots swerve and startle as characters emerge from smoky bars, carrying grudges into frozen landscapes. Ricker’s style is a turns gritty, raw, and surprisingly tender, while his prose goes down like fine whiskey.”—Carla Norton, New York Times bestselling author of Perfect Victim
“Ricker writes literary noir. His stories are records of murder and deceit, acts committed by individuals with such considerable damage, and/or in such dire straits, that the actions they commit seem to them logical, and perhaps inevitable. Ricker does not celebrate violence and/or amorality; his fiction talks of such things in carefully crafted, measured prose, and the calm, relentless focus of his narratorial voice presents his characters, their actions and their pasts, without judgment, so that we readers may apply our own. In this manner, his writing becomes highly moral; it asks us to look at actions and decisions that are alien to many of us, and to find empathy where we might otherwise be inclined to turn away.” —Christopher Coakes