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About Jeffery Hess
Jeffery Hess is the author of the novels, ROUGHHOUSE, NO SALVATION, TUSHHOG, and BEACHHEAD, and the story collection, COLD WAR CANOE CLUB, as well as editor of the award-winning anthologies HOME OF THE BRAVE: STORIES IN UNIFORM, and HOME OF THE BRAVE: SOMEWHERE IN THE SAND. He served six years aboard the Navy’s oldest and newest ships and has held writing positions at a daily newspaper, a Fortune 500 company, and a university-based research center. He holds writing degrees from Queens University of Charlotte and the University of South Florida. His writing has appeared widely in print and online. He lives in Florida, where he leads the DD-214 Writers’ Workshop for military veterans.
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Titles By Jeffery Hess
In The Great Filling Station Holdup, editor Josh Pachter presents sixteen short crime stories by sixteen popular and up-and-coming crime writers, each story based on a song from one of the twenty-nine studio albums Jimmy has released over the last half century, from Leigh Lundin’s take on “Truckstop Salvation” (which appeared on Jimmy’s first LP, 1970’s Down to Earth) to M.E. Browning’s interpretation of “Einstein Was a Surfer” (from 2013’s Songs from St. Somewhere).
If you love Jimmy’s music or crime fiction or both, you’ll love The Great Filling Station Holdup. Mix yourself a boat drink, ask Alexa to put on a buffet of Buffett tunes, kick back, and enjoy!
Table of Contents
Introduction by Josh Pachter
Down to Earth (1970)
“Truckstop Salvation” by Leigh Lundin
A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean (1973)
“The Great Filling Station Holdup” by Josh Pachter
“A Pirate Looks at Forty” by Rick Ollerman
Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes (1977)
“Tampico Trauma” by Michael Bracken
Son of a Son of a Sailor (1978)
“Cheeseburger in Paradise” by Don Bruns
“Volcano” by Alison McMahan
Coconut Telegraph (1981)
“Incommunicado” by Bruce Robert Coffin
Somewhere Over China (1981)
“If I Could Just Get It On Paper” by Lissa Marie Redmond
One Particular Harbour (1983)
“We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About” by Elaine Viets
Riddles in the Sand (1984)
“Who’s the Blonde Stranger?” by Robert J. Randisi
Last Mango in Paris (1985)
“Everybody’s on the Run” by Laura Oles
Hot Water (1988)
“Smart Woman (in a Real Short Skirt)” by Isabella Maldonado
Off to See the Lizard (1989)
“The Pascagoula Run” by Jeffery Hess
Don’t Stop the Carnival (1998)
“Public Relations” by Neil Plakcy
Beach House on the Moon (1999)
“Spending Money” by John M. Floyd
Songs From St. Somewhere (2013)
“Einstein Was a Surfer” by M.E. Browning
wScar Tissue is a psychological noir novel that stunningly brings to life a world others dare not dream of. This is a vivid and memorable portrayal of desire as seen through the eyes of two women with dark hearts and very different goals who cross paths at critical moments in their lives. The power of their hopes and despair, their weaknesses and strengths is a testament to the yearning that resides inside all of us.
Praise for Scar Tissue:
“This persuasive and dizzying novel grabs you and doesn’t let go. It is sexy, disturbing and relentless. What it says about human nature will keep you up at night. It’s also constantly entertaining and unnervingly passionate. Scar Tissue is amazing and weird in all the best ways.” —Fred Leebron, author of Six Figures, Out West, and Welcome to Christiania
“Scar Tissue has all that we’ve come to expect from Jeff Hess’s crime fiction—sweat-soaked Florida settings, uncompromising authenticity, and wild plots with hairpin turns—but adds yet another layer of ground-in grit. Hess’s new protagonists, Dylan and Abby, are damaged goods—selfish, yet sympathetic, slick cons, but also lost souls—and, most importantly, complicated women who are written and treated by Hess as such. In his latest, Hess spills just as much blood as in his previous novels, but it’s in the scars still healing where the real story lies.” —Steph Post, author of Miraculum, Lightwood, Walk in the Fire, and Holding Smoke
It’s the sedan just within sight that seems to be mimicking your speed and movements as you walk down the dark deserted street late at night. As the hairs rise on the back of your neck you wonder, Who is behind the wheel and what is the driver’s intent? It’s The Black Car Business and its presence means your life is about to abruptly change. You try to assure yourself there’s nothing wrong, but your pace quickens nonetheless, and soon you’re running, desperate for that narrow sliver between two buildings to slip through, the one too narrow for the black car to pass through.
It’s that car parked just down the block that sends chills down your spine and keeps you awake throughout the night.
It’s the sanctuary you race toward when you’re being chased, only to explode when you turn the key.
It’s the one that skids off the icy mountain overpass and plunges into the cavernous grotto.
It’s where Clemenza garrotes Carlo just as he’s about to be driven to the airport.
It’s The Black Car Business.
Turn the pages as ten masters of the noir art befuddle and frighten you with their stories. We promise a read you’re sure to enjoy.
Contributors: Eric Beetner, J. Carson Black, Cheryl Bradshaw, Diane Capri, Jeffery Hess, Lawrence Kelter, Dana King, Allan Leverone, Simon Wood, and Vincent Zandri.
His sister’s life, a potential newfound love, and his own freedom are all on the line as he tangles with a redneck gangster intent on becoming the state’s next governor.
Will Scotland make the right choice or the one that keeps him alive?
Beachhead is dark noir set in the state of sunshine. A story of crime and loyalty, love and hate, and choices made when everything you care about is on the line.
And sure, most of these clowns are armed. They’re less than concerned about the moral ramifications of their actions. Hell, they might be demonic. We’ve got it all. Clown cars, rodeos, adultery, robbery, mayhem, balloon animals, self-immolation, big red noses, cremation chambers, a funeral and kids’ TV shows, just to name some.
But for a dad who dresses as the most infamous clown ever to sneak into his son’s party or a woman who uses her costume as a ruse to rob and cheat to a man who’s lifelong companion is a clown apparition, the hair and make-up are just a means to an end.
An untimely end.
Edited by Ryan Sayles and featuring stories by Patricia Abbott, J.L. Abramo, Jen Conley, Jeffery Hess, Grant Jerkins, David James Keaton, Ed Kurtz, R. Daniel Lester, Marietta Miles, Warren Moore, Chuck Regan, Scotch Rutherford, Liam Sweeney, Richard Thomas, James R. Tuck, and Lono Waiwaiole.
It’s August 1986. The Cold War rages and Yuppies make all the money. Fresh off a three-year stretch at Starke for keeping Pearce family secrets, Scotland has a new place to call home on Fort Myers Beach. All should be perfect except Scotland’s wife is going to die unless he comes up with $100,000.
He enlists a trusted friend to help him rob a Tampa casino to pay for her unconventional treatment. While freely risking life in prison if he’s caught, he never thought his trusted accomplice could go rogue and turn against him. On top of that, his long-lost nieces come to him in need of help only he can provide, while a mysterious female former Marine has her own surprise plan for him.
Scotland hurtles through his new-found freedom right back into a storm of violence and pain with strong women and treacherous men gusting in all directions. Without him, the women would be doomed; without them, he would be. Yet, success and failure are put to the biggest challenge by an unsettled score from the past that threatens to bury them all in the surf.
Praise for ROUGHHOUSE:
“Rounding out a trilogy is never easy, especially one with as memorable an anti-hero as Scotland Ross, the on-again/off-again criminal-with-a-heart-of-gold who managed to shoot his way out of Jeffery Hess’s Beachhead and Tushhog. Yet Hess’s finale to cap the series not only delivers, it firmly sets Hess up with the masters of Florida rough-and-tumble crime fiction. Roughhouse pummels Scotland Ross as he fights his way through heartache, betrayal, shifting family loyalties and unbreakable family bonds, all set against a backdrop of bullets and cash, salt and sun, the best that Florida has to offer.” —Steph Post, author of Miraculum, Lightwood, Walk in the Fire, Holding Smoke, and A Tree Born Crooked
“A bruised and bloodied hero punching destiny’s jaw one last time. Tense, gritty, emotional. Roughhouse carves a fitting end for the unbreakable Scotland, who, like the 80s itself, ain’t accepting fate easy.” —James R. Duncan, author of Blood Republic
“What a wild ride! I really dig that this book is noir through and through yet has this emotional beating heart at its center. I could read about these characters and their wacky Floridian lives all day. Well done, sir!” —Chris Rhatigan, author of Squeeze and Race to the Bottom
“Scotland Ross is a good man running in a merciless world. It’s a good thing he’s built for the battle. This book reminded me of early Elmore Leonard books. I’m embarrassed to say this is my first Scotland Ross novel. But I’m fired up that I can devour the other two.” —Jonathan Brown, author of the Lou Crasher Mysteries
“Edgy, rich and excessively smart, Roughhouse might be that rare third element of the trilogy, even better than its predecessors. Regardless, it is constantly entertaining and, even better, always artful.” – Fred G. Leebron, author of Six Figures, Out West, and Welcome to Christiania
This is 1972, a time when inequality and racial tension permeated ships fleet-wide. As a way to mitigate racial unrest, the ship's captain brings in Commander Robert Porter as his Executive Officer. Commander Porter isn't sure if he's been selected for the job because of his skills or for the color of his skin, but the black crew doesn't accept him.
Amid rampant drug use and various forms of sabotage, the biggest challenge to the ship's performance and the crew's safety is a series of violent attacks made by planes launching from the flight deck, but more perilous are the racial tensions boiling below.
Porter is uniquely positioned to save them all, but can he? If so, at what cost?
Praise for NO SALVATION:
"Terrific read!" -- Les Edgerton, author of eighteen books, includingBomb, The Rapist, Monday's Meal and The Genuine,Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping
"In Jeff Hess's explosive outstanding new novel, intricacyand intimacy combine to portray a haunting race war on a US Naval Carrier. It'sas if the best of Robert Stone intersected with the best of Tom Clancy. Ahaunting and original and constantly entertaining book. It ought to be a majormotion picture." --Fred Leebron, author of SixFigures, Out West, and Welcome to Christiania
"Truth, as they say, may be stranger than fiction, but novelist and award-winning editor Jeffery Hess manages to masterfully blend both in No Salvation. Based on actual events from another era, Hess's novel with page-turning cinematic appeal sizzles with gritty realism and uncomfortable truths regarding racial tensions aboard a U.S. Navy carrier. I dare readers to walk away unchanged--in how they see others, and how they see themselves in the world." --Tracy Crow, author of Eyes Right: Confessions of a Woman Marine
"In a skillful fictionalization of the racial discord aboard the USS Kitty Hawk in 1972, Mr. Hess has created an unflinching picture of life aboard a Navy carrier forty-seven years ago, in a work that builds in tension with each chapter to a decisive climax, bloody, but prescient with hope." --Raymond Hutson, author of Finding Sgt. Kent
"From the opening chapter Hess plunges you deep within a Navy aircraft carrier where a brutal black vs. white event has occurred, with characters rich enough to have stand-alone stories of their own. Powerful is not only the first word that comes to mind when describing No Salvation, it's the best word." --Jonathan Brown, author of the Lou Crasher series
"Hess, himself a Navy veteran, knows exactly what he's doing, and has given us a riveting and compelling story firmly based on real events from the closing days of the Vietnam war." -- Tim Bazzett, author of the Cold War memoir Soldier Boy: At Play in the ASA
At a waterside tavern the day the Pope got shot, Scotland drank to cloud the memories of his dead infant son on an anniversary such as this. Distraction comes when the bar owner needs his help. Despite his vow of living within the law, Scotland soon finds himself tangling with a redneck clan, a Cuban gang, a connected crew from New York, and the very friend he set out to help.
Crimes of violence, drugs, and theft pale in comparison to the failure of self-restraint in this humid town on the Gulf coast.
When Scotland’s activities involve his girlfriend, he kicks himself into a higher gear. He didn’t know until it was too late that she’d been involved long before they even met. He’s not fully prepared for the ramifications of that, but there is no time to waste.
Can Scotland save his girlfriend, clear his name, get justice for being screwed over, and stay out of jail?
Tushhog is dark noir set in the state of sunshine. A story of crime and compulsion and the depths to which people rise or sink.
Praise for TUSHHOG:
“In Tushhog, Jeffery Hess has created a wicked lean follow-up to Beachhead. The remarkable Scotland Ross is back for another go-round, sadder maybe but no wiser, which means that he gets himself into all sorts of entertaining trouble. An excellent sophomore entry in what promises to be a long-running series of bruising, bare-knuckle crime novels.” —Pinckney Benedict, author of Miracle Boy, The Wrecking Yard and Town Smokes
“Anti-hero Scotland Ross is back and Jeffery Hess’s prose is better than ever in this Sunshine Noir follow-up to last year’s unputdownable Beachhead. With tight pacing, snappy dialogue, a grungy edge and a whole lot of attitude, Tushhog brings us another classic crime caper complete with our hard-nosed protagonist, still trying to walk the razor’s edge between right and wrong, and a colorful cast of troublemakers and rabble-rousers, each intent on stretching Scotland Ross to his limits. In the tradition of Elmore Leonard, Tushhog is a no-holds-barred noir you won’t soon forget.” —Steph Post, author of Walk in the Fire
“In Tushhog, Scotland Ross returns, and though he’s determined at the outset to re-envision his life according to his rules, it’s his personal code that ultimately lands him at the center of a masterfully spun cycle of mayhem.” —Tracy Crow, author of Cooper’s Hawk and Eyes Right: Confessions from a Woman Marine
“Tushhog is Jeffery Hess’ follow-up to Beachhead and the return of Scotland Ross. The action starts on page one and does not let up, offering the reader a one-two punch of quick, rapid-fire wit punctuated by grisly, can’t-look-away action. Hess’ prose is all Florida, all the time. Look out, Carl Hiassen…Jeff Hess is coming for your crown. You’ll trust no one in this story, but that won’t keep you from turning each and every page because Hess gives this story his all.” —Eryk Pruitt, author of Dirtbags, Hashtag, and What We Reckon
“Tushhog is spellbinding, driven, reckless and authentic.
*** Proceeds from the sales of Unloaded will benefit the nonprofit States United To Prevent Gun Violence (CeaseFireUSA.org) ***
For the first time, more than two dozen crime and mystery authors have joined together to use the strongest weapon at their disposal—words—in a call for reasonable gun control in the U.S.A. In this collection you get all the thrills and excitement you come to expect from a great crime story, but without any guns.
From best sellers and writing legends to the brightest stars of the next generation of crime writers, the twenty-five authors here have taken pen in hand to say enough is enough. Gun violence has got to stop and this is our way of speaking out—by showing that gun violence can be removed from the narrative, and maybe from our lives.
It's not anti-gun, it's pro-sanity. And above anything else, these are thrilling crime stories that will surprise and shock, thrill and chill—all without a gun in sight.
The writers are from both sides of the political aisle and many of the authors are gun owners themselves. But everyone felt it was time to speak out. Featuring the talents of J.L. Abramo , Patricia Abbott, Trey R. Barker, Eric Beetner, Alec Cizak, Joe Clifford, Reed Farrel Coleman, Angel Luis Colón, Hilary Davidson, Paul J. Garth, Alison Gaylin, Kent Gowran, Rob Hart, Jeffery Hess, Grant Jerkins, Joe R. Lansdale, S.W. Lauden, Tim O’Mara, Joyce Carol Oates, Tom Pitts, Thomas Pluck, Keith Rawson, Kelli Stanley, Ryan Sayles, and Holly West.
Praise for UNLOADED…
“The 25 short stories in this thought-provoking theme anthology prove that clever crime writers can generate just as much mayhem, weirdness, and chills without the use of firearms.” —Publishers Weekly
Even as we celebrate the return of our military from wars in the Middle East, we are becoming increasingly aware of the struggles that await veterans on the home front. Red, White, and True offers readers a collection of voices that reflect the experiences of those touched by war-from the children of veterans who encounter them in their fathers' recollections of past wars to the young men and women who fought in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The diversity of perspectives collected in this volume validates the experiences of our veterans and their families, describing their shared struggles and triumphs while honoring the fact that each person's military experience is different.
Leila Levinson's powerful essay recounts her father's experience freeing a POW camp during World War II. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder provides a chilling account of being a new second lieutenant in Vietnam. Army combat veteran Brooke King recounts the anguish of raising her young children by day while trying to distinguish between her horrific memories of IED explosions in Baghdad and terrifying dreams by night.
These individual stories of pain and struggle, along with twenty-nine others, illustrate the inescapable damage that war rends in the fabric of society and celebrate our dauntless attempts to repair these holes with compassion and courage.
The stories in Cold War Canoe Club are like vertical launch missiles that explode to reveal a darker side of the US Navy in a time when most of the action took place away from the headlines. Welcome to the period between World War II and Desert Storm, when enemies were just as likely to be seen on radar as aboard the same ship.
The characters who populate the stories Hess has written face their own doom through dangers--foreign and domestic, including shipmates, spouses, secrets, lies, greed, lust, and bad decisions.
As Cold War Canoe Club unfolds, we witness the darkest recesses of war ships and the men who sail aboard them as well as the women who wait for them in port and at home.
There's a submarine sinking in frigid waters, a pregnant Navy wife distraught over the Cuban Missile Crisis, a race riot aboard an air craft carrier, fist fights, loose women, bad luck, and bad decisions.
Hess's sailors and veterans haunt deeply with the authentic sense of people being on ships at sea or at the ends of their ropes as civilians. These stories bristle with noir intrigue and energy, while transporting readers to worlds few have ever seen. A dark exploration of service men, officers, gentlemen, lowlifes, and those trying to navigate troubled waters across oceans and on land.
Praise for Cold War Canoe Club...
"Jeffery Hess combines a flair for gripping storytelling with a powerful lyrical sensibility to produce that rarest of birds: a book full of page-turners that read like literary fiction. Like Tim O'Brien and Kevin Powers, Hess writes with absolute authority about the military men whose lives he sees with utter clarity and intimacy." --Pinckney Benedict, author of Miracle Boy, The Wrecking Yard, and Town Smokes.
"Eerily timely and rendered with gritty realism, Cold War Canoe Club beckons us to recall a time when actions and attitudes appeared motivated by an entire world perpetually hovering along the brink of utter destruction. Each tightly woven gem of a short story represents a microcosm of the Cold War macrocosm, and dares to expose Hess as a genius for his artful juxtaposition of humanity's brash boldness with humanity's amnesic naiveté." --Tracy Crow, author of Eyes Right: Confessions from a Woman Marine, and editor of Red, White, & True: Stories from Veterans and Families, WWII to Present.
"Hess is one of those rare talents who tells a great story with compelling characters, pacing and action." --Terrence McCauley, author of Sympathy for the Devil and The Devil Dogs of Belleau Wood.
"Cold War Canoe Club presents an eclectic array of situations and stories all tied together by Hess's hard-edged prose style and deeply-developed characters. In the smart, snappy tradition of Elmore Leonard and James Lee Burke, Hess is a writer who pulls no punches and delivers authenticity in rapid-fire doses." --Steph Post, author of Lightwood and A Tree Born Crooked.
"Smart, poignant, often slyly funny, these are stories that will both take your breath away and take you places you've never been before. A true and honest salute to much more than those who serve in the Navy, rich with history real and imagined." --Fred Leebron, author of Welcome to Christiania and Out West.
"Jeffery Hess reminds of the glory days or noir: wayward women, brawling sailors, and shadow-lurking heroes who were too hung over when redemption dawned.