Table of Contents

Summer 2008

From The Editor

Letter from Sandra Ruttan

Short Stories

Amra Pajalic

The Game

The Old Man

The Vow

The Other Shoe

Patrick Shawn Bagley

Bank Job

John McFetridge

Overtime

Russel D. McLean

Her Cheating Heart

Steve Mosby

Fruits

Grant McKenzie

Out Of Order

Patricia Abbott

Pox

Leaving

Damien Seaman

Love In Vain

Ugly Duckling

Steve Allan

Hump The Stump

Stumpy's Revenge

You and Me and Stumpy Makes Three

Stephen D. Rogers

Head Shot

Richard Cooper

Simmer Time

Sandra Seamans

Predatory

Allan Guthrie

Freckles

Brian Lindenmuth

Gun

Tony Black

London Calling

Brian McGilloway

Spoonfull of Sugar

Interview

Damien Seaman with Tony Black

Reviews by:

Sandra Ruttan

Savage Night

The Cold Spot

Brian Lindenmuth

Kockroach

The Crimes of Dr. Watson

Half the Blood of Brooklyn

Crimson Orgy

Mad Dogs

The Resurrectionist

Sharp Teeth

Lawrence

Black Man

Tricia

Hip Flask: Concrete Jungle

Chadwick

At the City's Edge

Amber

Small Favor

Madhouse

Book Excerpts

Toros & Torsos
by Craig McDonald

Paying For It
by Tony Black

Dirty Sweeet
by John McFetridge

Feature

The Graveyard Shift: blog by Lee Ofland

Tricia reviews: Hip Flask: Concrete Jungle
(The Big Here & The Long Now) by Richard Starkings

Full Review

“Hip Flask: Concrete Jungle” was very much what I expected in terms of continuing the stories begun in the “Elephantmen: Wounded Animals” graphic novel. This volume could be considered a stand-alone volume but in my own experience, it was a mistake to attempt to read “Concrete Jungle” without reading “Wounded Animals” first.

As with “Wounded Animals,” “Concrete Jungle” masquerades as a pulpy, genre action story that centers on Hip Flask, the Elephantman who appears to be a bipedal hippopotamus. He was introduced in “Wounded Animals” as a private investigator type who’s been contracted by a branch of official law enforcement. His exact employment status and agency aren’t fully revealed. This book follows Hip Flask through the partial investigation of a case that clearly involves a hitman, the elephantman Obadiah Horn, and a man named Serengheti.

What isn’t clear is exactly how the case will be resolved because this volume doesn’t contain a full story arc. It’s obviously setting up plot elements for bigger and better things to come in the series, “Concrete Jungle” shifts between plot threads fluidly, while only weaving a couple of them into the larger storyline. The reader gets the impression that they can trust the author and artists to resolve all of these glimpses into a coherent whole.

The “Elephantmen” series is a fast-cut action series skillfully melded with noir and near-future science fiction and “Concrete Jungle” is no exception, however, much larger and deeper issues are at the heart of this story. “Concrete Jungle” raises issues of scientific ethics and responsibility, racism, economics, and even provokes some thought on law enforcement and prisons. The “Elephantmen” series carries all this issues within a story that brings them up without ever getting horribly preachy or boring in the slightest. “Concrete Jungle” is one of those books that a person can’t help thinking about after reading it, and that’s certainly not a bad thing at all.