Crimes in Southern Indiana: Stories
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Crimes in Southern Indiana: Stories

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  935 ratings  ·  152 reviews
A ferocious debut that puts Frank Bill’s southern Indiana on the literary map next to Cormac McCarthy’s eastern Tennessee and Daniel Woodrell’s Missouri Ozarks

Crimes in Southern Indiana is the most blistering, vivid, flat-out fearless debut to plow into American literature in recent years. Frank Bill delivers what is both a wake-up call and a gut punch. Welcome to heartlan...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by FSG Originals (first published January 1st 2011)
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Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom BoumanThe Devil All the Time by Donald Ray PollockWinter's Bone by Daniel WoodrellKnockemstiff by Donald Ray PollockCrimes in Southern Indiana by Frank Bill
Country Noir
5th out of 81 books — 70 voters
Divergent by Veronica Roth11/22/63 by Stephen KingDaughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini TaylorThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsMockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Top Five-Star Reads of 2011
138th out of 431 books — 700 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,388)
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karen
sorry, canada. i know i just gave tony burgess the title of "sick fuck," * but i am going to be taking that crown back now, and giving it to frank bill. oh, god - what is that shit clotted all over it?? tony burgess, you sick sick fuck. well done.

this book is...descriptive.

this is another one of those short story collections that is more or less a deconstructed novel. the title of this novel could easily be here is a list of people who died horrible deaths in one place over a number of years su...more
Kemper
Feb 22, 2012 Kemper rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kemper by: Trudi
Is there anybody left alive in Indiana by the end of this book?

Frank Bill delivers a brutal series of short stories about murder, rape, blood feuds, pot dealing, meth dealing, dog fighting, revenge, incest and the occasional shell shocked veteran cutting off a couple of ears. You know, just another Tuesday in the American heartland.

What I particularly liked about this is that Bill uses the stories about various people over a couple of generations to give you a complete picture of an area. By the...more
Paul
If you ever wake up and find yourself in one of Frank Bill's stories, you better start praying. You got about five minutes left before something bad happens to you. There will be bone fragments. There will be catherine wheels of pain. Howling. Retching. One thing there won't be is mercy. This is not life as it is lived, this is death as it is died. In Indiana. There's enough stuff for 15 novels crammed into this handful of stories and when you read one you feel like you pulled your foot out of a...more
Trudi
This book ::flails helplessly:: How do I begin to review these raw and ruthless stories and do them justice? I probably can't ladies and gents, but I want to try goddammit. Frank Bill's collection of crazies and crimes in southern Indiana deserves that much at least.

This is prose that sings -- not with the sweetness and harmony of a Mama Cass, but rather a whiskey-soaked growl and feverish screech of a Janis Joplin. It's jagged, fragmented, and toothsome; at any point ready and able to tear a c...more
Lou
The author Frank Bill delivers a lethal injection of literal pulp visceral darkness into your bloodstream.
He takes you to hell and back with these characters and stories.
Written in the same vein as Daniel Woodrell and Donald Ray Pollock. The stories are gritty, at times shocking and brutal, vignettes of things that should remain as fiction. Written with short sharp no words wasted, visceral lines of prose. The stories are at times connected with each other as some characters are featured in ot...more
Steve
After the first three stories (which will quickly sift out the Eat-Pray-Love lightweights), it's hard not to think of a Tarantino movie. Murder, rape, revenge, drugs, guns (lots of guns), dogs, meth labs, pot, booze, hard men and hard women, living in a hard land during a merciless time (the 1980s to the present). Characters in previous stories show up again (though in this grim landscape, you only have so many bites at the apple), as Frank Bill populates (and de-populates) his little blood soak...more
Owen
Feb 28, 2013 Owen rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Everyone (but specifically people that can handle slightly graphic and gratuitous violence)
Recommended to Owen by: karen
This is without a doubt the best book of short stories I have ever read. It has plenty of rednecks and meth. And violence. Think Breaking Bad, (I don't really know any redneck type shows. Maybe parts of The Walking Dead?), meets Nikita. Seriously, here is a tidbit from the story "Old Testament Wisdom":

But when the girl swung the tin door open none of that would matter. Because she was carrying on the wisdom. And watching from the four-by-four, Billy Hines could forgive himself and her grandfathe...more
Richard Thomas
[This review was originally published at The Nervous Breakdown.]

When you think of places where crime lurks, locations where you should keep the car rolling through stop signs, where you never stop to ask for directions, a few names may pop into your head. Maybe you think of Detroit or East St. Louis, Baltimore or Miami. It’s time to add Corydon, Indiana, to that list, as well as the entire southern part of the state.

In Frank Bill’s violent, gut-wrenching, and heartfelt collection of short storie...more
J.D.
You might try to comfort yourself by thinking that Frank Bill's exaggerating for dramatic effect in these short, tightly written tales of country meth addicts, domestic brutality, unpredictably vicious rednecks, and rural ultra-violence. You might try to tell yourself that things this grim and lurid could never happen in real life. But I can tell you, they do.

This is not a book for the faint of heart; it's pure distilled redneck noir, and there are few happy endings. But the quality of the wri...more
Tony
I’d just finished reading Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs when I started reading a lot of Twitter posts talking about a kick ass collection of stories. My lack of impulse control did me a favour and convinced me to buy it now. Bugger! The book is not released in the UK for about four years (months but I have little patience) and the UK cover doesn’t appeal to me as much. Over to Amazon.com I go. After adding international four week shipping it works out less cash than buying the UK version a...more
Adam
Unrelentingly tedious hillbilly pulp. Like the bloody bits of Tarantino but not the talky chunks? Want to like Woodrell but find him too high-falutin? C'mon down! Two-dimensional and one-dimensional characters trapped in a setting that's way more cartoonish than Gotham or Metropolis. Reminiscent of the kid in the creative writing workshop who can't write his way out of a short story without a death or beating. Contrived stabs at shock value, with half-baked stories like "Granpappy sells lil gran...more
Jacob
March 2013
Josephine's feet found her unlaced boots, disregarded the folding wheelchair leaned against the wall. She wheeled her oxygen tank into the next room, where Able's body fell into the living room wall. She lined the pistol up with his chest, her grip unsteady as her vision. She pulled the trigger.
("These Old Bones," p. 16)
After his two sons disappear (in a drug deal gone wrong), Able Kirby sells his granddaughter to the Hill Clan to pay for his wife's cancer medications, but Josephine a...more
Gordon
It's amazing the characters of this region managed to live long enough to appear in their stories, given the rate at which they're bludgeoned and exterminated so indiscriminately. The first couple tales will tell you right away whether this is for you or not. Full of vengeance, cheatin', meth, dogfighting, etc. — hard-livin' folk playing their dealt hands the only way they know how, past always nipping at their doors. It's very consistent, and though the tales get and certain descriptions get a...more
Melanie
Crimes in Southern Indiana sounded like my kind of book. 'Blasts off like a rocket ship and hits as hard as an axe handle to the side of the head'*

It is frenetic. Its fierce, violent and bloody. But it is also repetitious & one dimensional. Nothing meaningful transpires, there is no pleasure, not even of the sadistic kind, the characters forget to want in the taking.

After the works of Donald Ray Pollock & Daniel Woodrell, I guess I'm spoiled for the pulpy end of the genre, but given this...more
Nigel Bird
To quote Donald Ray Pollock on this: `Good Lord, where the hell did this guy come from?'

Frank Bill describes his work more succinctly and directly than I'm about to when he says at his blog, `House Of Grit', `I don't waste words, I write them.'

In `Crimes In Southern Indiana' we have a book to cherish.

Essentially a collection of short stories, the work grabs hold harder with each page read.

Stories overlap as characters and histories reappear in new situations, the circles becoming tighter and tig...more
Brando
I somehow stumbled across this book while in B&N looking for a Warren Buffett book. I probably won the award for oddest combination of purchases that day. After picking up Warren, I walked past the new releases and:

(1) the cover art for this book initially caught my eye.
(2) the title piqued my interest.
(3) the author's name bestowed a sense of confidence that he must be a credible source on such subjects....(and made me chuckle).
(4) the author's bio stated that he actually lives in Southern...more
Thomas Pluck
Blood feud poetry. Desperate situations where beat-down people stand on the line between what they know is wrong and sheer survival in a hardscrabble emotionally jagged landscape. Those uncomfortable photos in the middle of the newspaper showing a man with sunken sleep-bruised eyes and a couple column inches detailing the unfathomable things he's done. Staring into the abysmal latrine of humanity, it is easy to sink to nihilism, to embrace the banality of evil, but in Crimes in Southern Indiana,...more
Mary
Wow, more hillbilly noir. This guy makes Woodrell's Bayou Trilogy look like Glen Beck's Christmas Sweater. And he has the best cover--ever. My coworker handed me this book, laughing, saying that he knew it was for me, just by looking at the cover.
Who knew that there are El Salvadorian gangs running the meth trade out there? Or that coon hounds were used in dog fighting (my grandpa was a well-known coon hound breeder and trainer; I'm not entirely sure I believed this part of the stories). But who...more
Alan
Mar 05, 2012 Alan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Alan by: Jacob
These stories are like the first sentence:Pitchfork and Darnel burst through the scuffed motel door like two barrels of buckshot. The prose is right in your face and doesn't let up. Speeding into the gravel curve, Wayne lost control of the Ford Courier, stomped the gas instead of the brake. (Another opening sentence).

Karen's just reviewed this and I commented I was surprised there was anyone left in Southern Indiana such is the killing that's going on. Some of it is accidental, but mostly it's p...more
Mel
Crimes in Southern Indiana is a book filled with short stories by Frank Bill. The characters in his stories are a hard-scrabble people who drink tins of Fall City for breakfast washed down with an eye popping amount of crystal meth. They solve their own problems usually with fists, guns, coon dogs, knives, or running you down with their truck or a combination of the above mentioned. Don’t mess around with the Southern Indiana of Frank Bill’s making they will put you in a bad bad way; maybe even...more
Steve Weddle
If you ever wanted a Drive-By Truckers song put to the music of fiction, then this is your book.

Brutal and honest, Frank Bill delivers punch after punch of folks doing some nasty stuff to get by.

Tough to pick favorites here, as the book is just over 250 pages of flaming kerosene, but "Cold, Hard Love," "A Coon Hunter's Noir," and "Rough Company" are clear standouts.

If you read Bill's stories in PLAYBOY magazine and wanted to see more of him, then this is it. Get this book.
Brian Sweany
There are writers who are uniquely identified with the regions in which they live and/or set their stories, their settings emerging as almost sentient, narrative-driving characters. Some that come readily to mind are Daniel Woodrell's Ozarks, Larry Brown's Mississippi, Ivan Doig's Montana, Dorothy Allison's South Carolina, and James Lee Burke's Louisiana.

Say hello to Frank Bill's southern Indiana!

Frank Bill's 17 sparse, unrepentant stories in his debut collection CRIMES IN SOUTHERN INDIANA might...more
MSJ
There is blood bubbling up to the surface of the ground from all the bodies slaughtered and left for dead in a similar fashion to the Einsatzgruppen in Nazi Germany. Crimes in Southern Indiana: Stories is a very violent book to say the least, but I loved every minute. Frank Bill created a world where no one comes out alive and everyone suffers cruelty beyond measure. I am from the Heartland, but not Frank Bill’s Heartland. My mind was swimming by the time I finished the book so I wrote down all...more
James
This book is astonishingly good.

This ranks among the top of all fiction books I've read.

That said, I hesitate to think of people I would recommend it to. A few come to mind, but: this book is brutal. These aren't, well, white collar crimes - these are rough and awful crimes.

I deliberately won't say the crimes are graphic, because even though the acts are - the language isn't. Plot, pacing, etc aside, the language and the phrasing and the metaphors in this book knock my socks off. This is an outs...more
Rupert
This book was a big disappointment. Not only did it come highly recommended by my brother who I usually agree with on books and movies, but it had a rave blurb from Donald Ray Pollock, whose Knockemstiff is my favorite book I've read in the last few months. Unlike Knockemstiff or other rural gothic books like Winter's Bone or early Cormac McCarthy, this book doesn't bother much with creating characters with any depth before brutalizing them.
This isn't a study of real people malformed by a hars...more
Ramsey
I've heard this brand of fiction variously called grit lit, country noir and rough South (though with the arrival of Donald Ray Pollock, Bonnie Jo Campbell and Frank Bill, it has definitely migrated to the Midwest). In any event, I like what little I've read of it so far. Crimes in Southern Indiana definitely falls on the most hard-boiled end of the spectrum; it's a real bruiser of a book. Bill's prose is visceral: you can hear the bone and sinew popping, see the saliva dripping from bloodied ja...more
Sean Wilson
This is by far the best book I finished today. A very fast read due to the large amount of entertainment this book offers. If you like reading boring, mundane novels then continue your search because this is not it. Crimes in Southern Indiana consists of a number of short stories. Some of these stories are linked through characters and place but all definitely stand on their own. Each fast-paced story involves desperately hopeless characters making poor decisions that usually, quickly lead to vi...more
Dan Downing
I have been grabbed by the neck and flung around my library: books are strewn across the floor, picture frames are shattered, I have several broken bones and maybe a concussion or two. Somehow my head has remained attached to my body.
Or maybe I just read Frank Bill's first story collection, one in the new tradition of country noir. An addition, and I believe a brilliant one, to what amounts to a newly recognized genre. By new, I mean a decade or so since people like Daniel Woodrell started writi...more
Margi
Feb 05, 2012 Margi rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Margi by: Jill's choice for bookclub
Shelves: fiction
Very repititious book. The story all sounded quite similar with the same issues. The characters were all struggling with some sort of issee, I just did not care about any of them. We read this book as a bookclub selection and should have good discussion potential for us, but only because we will be discussing where these areas of Indiana are that these stories are based on. I live in Indiana and this book makes us look like a bunch of hilljacks. Believe me, we are not all like this.
Rob Mitchell


Some stories have creative narrative arch, but most do not & The writing is cookie cutter and bland. Description & dialogue sound very scripted and unauthentic, and Frank Bill thrives more on presenting shock value as opposed to building unique character driven stories. Read Donald Ray Pollock not Frank Bill. This collection is an attempt to recreate knockemstiff, which it does not achieve.
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Stories of hard cruel lives 12 34 Aug 20, 2013 06:48AM  
UW-Parkside Library: Crimes in Southern Indiana 1 4 Dec 18, 2012 11:05AM  
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