Well written noir crime action thriller with several interesting twists and just the right amount of absurd humor elements to make it enjoyable and shine a bit of light into an otherwise very dark story. The supernatural element felt a bit like one of those game “cheats” that you use to clear levels that you have no business having any success with, but was still fun.
Samson and Denial (Thunderstorm Books) is a powerful debut from author Robert Ford, a story reeling at a break-neck pace that demands a reading in one sitting. This is Robert E. Howard, Norman Partridge and Bryan Smith, all rolled into one explosive package that doesn't mince words, but also doesn't sacrifice its craft. It's a story of substance as well as fast-paced thrills.
Things have taken a nasty turn for pawnbroker and small-time drug-dealer Samson Gallows. His brother and drug-dealing partner Marky tortured and murdered in ruthless fashion by merciless Russian gangsters, his wife Tia abducted and in mortal danger, Samson finds himself barreling towards the kind of fight he's never wanted: one with no good outcome, no victory possible, but one he must embrace regardless. His dear brother, mutilated beyond recognition; beloved wife possibly facing the same, maybe even already dead. What else can he do?
But perhaps not all is lost. For Samson has in his possession a grisly artifact pawned to him earlier by one of his usual junkie customers. With this artifact comes a strange and horrifying legacy. And awful powers. When it saves Samson from the same men who killed Marky – in bloody fashion – a small chance for survival offers itself to him...if he can also survive the artifact's rightful owners, who fear neither death nor hell in their service to it, and would sooner gut him like a fish, rather than let it slip from their grasp again.
Ford's even-handed voice never loses control of his narrative. The prose flows, nice and tight and powerful, each word precisely chosen for maximum punch. And the story itself tears up the track like a dragster burning high octane nitrous oxide. Along the way, Ford paints poignant, bitter-sweet portraits of life in the city, infusing his tale with a thundering heart that refuses to quit, right to the last page.
'Samson and Denial' is a fast paced, action-y quick read that is really good fun, but also keeps it very original. The action takes the reader to some at times absurd places that you won't see coming, all while musing about the concept of betrayal (just like in the OG Samson and Delilah story) and it will keep you guessing until the very end. My one criticism is that, in my opinion, the whole "the-main-character-is-from-the-street" thing eventually gets a bit on the nose, but the titular character is still very likeable because - with his large mouth - really feels like someone you want to root for. I had a good time reading this.
I'm also going to point out that there is a lot of affection for the city of Philadelphia, in this story, for whoever is interested in reading something set in this city.
I definitely recommend reading more Robert Ford to anyone.
Here we are again...I've read more of Bob Ford's work, and I'm here to sing his praises some more. 2019 has been quite a year for my bookshelves, which are near collapse under the weight of my favorite authors' work. This year has been exceptional with regards to discovering new-to-me writers, many of which do not get the recognition they deserve. Bob Ford is included in this fine group of talented people. I feel like I'm backpedaling a bit as I make my way through his books, as I started out by reading some of his collaborative work, and then picked up his solo writing. That brings us to SAMSON AND DENIAL, my latest read, in which I was thrilled to recognize some characters from his other stories. This is a novella, so it was easy to fly through it, but like the rest of Bob's stories, I didn't want it to end. I'm not sure how else to describe it, but reading his work is like sitting down with an old friend-- one you haven't seen for years, but somehow it feels like no time has passed. There's a comfort and familiarity in the writing. This novella contains all of the things I hold dear about Bob's work, so forgive me if I sound like a broken record, but I need to mention these aspects again. It's a short tale, yet packed with solid character development, witty dialogue, humor, just enough horror, and heart. This is a winning combination to me. If you're looking to start your journey with his work, this would be a great place to start. (Plus, you'll be fully prepared to spot the "Easter eggs" along the way as you read his other solo work and collaborations). The last thing I'll say here is important. There are a handful of authors whose writing grips me from page one, and keeps me engaged until the very end, and Bob Ford is one of these talented people.
This is the first single story I've read of Bob Ford's, previously reading collaborations with John Boden and Matt Hayward (amazing by the way, check them out) So, where does this one stand? Well it's older, 2011, but that doesn't mean to say it doesn't stand up. It's very good. The writing is really on point. There was a touch of humour in this that I really liked too, and I did feel emotionally attached to certain characters. The story moves swiftly along, maybe a little too swiftly for me this time. I would have enjoyed things to slow down a little. A little more time spent in conversation or something like that. I don't know, I can't quite put my finger on it. But it's short, It's wild, and if you're looking for something with a lot of violence that doesn't hang around, I'm sure you'll love it. I've got his recent novella collection INNER DEMONS all set to go. Got a good feeling about that one, too. I think I'll give SAMSON AND DENIAL a solid 4. That seems about right for me. Oh, and it's very cheap on paperback on Amazon at the moment. Treat yourself. Great stuff.
Samson Gallows runs a pawn shop in South Philly and he's involved in a little side business with his brother, Markey, if you get my drift.
The story starts with a drugy walking into the shop, wanting to pawn a 3,000 year old, mummified head.
Robert Ford's writing is as real as a Philly cheesesteak, one from Geno's or Pat's, if you will.
Bob knows his craft and how to paint a picture. "I drove back through Rittenhouse Square and saw the bum was still there. He was ankle-deep in the fountain, standing in his own water-piss, conducting an orchestra of pigeons to whatever music played in his head."
Samson and Denial is filled with great characters defined by wonderful prose. Take Wimer Finnegan, a 3rd generation barkeep-owner of Finnegan's tavern, who leans over his bar when Samson comes into his establishment for the 1st time in many years, and says, "If you knew everything you needed to know, you wouldn't be here. If you didn't know anything at all, you wouldn't be here. And I know damned well you're not here for the ambience of my upscale drinking establishment. So quit fuckin' around and just ask. What do you need to know?"
Just when I was wondering why we hadn't heard any more about the mummified head, all hell breaks loose. Plenty of action with with everyone from the Russian mob to the Crimson Sisterhood (you really need to be there).
Only a novella, damn. This was just too good to end. Bob tells me he's mulling over a sequel. I'd spend my money on it.
Not for the faint of heart, due to strong language and plenty of violence, but frankly, I love that stuff.
Unfortunately the limited edition paperback has sold out, but it's now avaible for the Kindle from Amazon.com for 2.99 or you can borrow for free from the Kindle Lending Library if you have an Amazon Prime membership.
However you get a copy, I highly recommend Robert Ford's Samson and Denial.
Samson and his brother are making good money with the pawn shop and dealing on the side until a Boss wants the money they are making and then things go downhill very fast. A bloody crime read with a paranormal twist. A good, short read.
Samson and Denial by Robert Ford is part dark thriller and part supernatural horror. It is a twisted and fun combination. The story is a well-paced, fast, and entertaining read told in evocative first person. Evocative? Yes. This is a very emotion evoking story, which surprised me. Robert Ford’s writing is like that. His characters are colorful and vivid, his sequences powerful. The story’s climax was especially impactful, in my opinion. Unexpected, dramatic, poignant.
This is a fantastic novella with surprising depth and moments of dark humor. I have actually read it twice. The paperback is a tiny thing, but still a worthy addition to the Templum Library.
“Samson and Denial” from Robert Ford is gritty dark crime tale with a twist of the supernatural. This novella is easily read in a sitting or two due to its fast pace and wonderful first person narrative reminiscent of a great film noir or pulp novel of the past.
Samson runs a palm shop and deals drugs. The former brings him into the possession of what Nick--his loser, regular client--claims to be the severed head of an ancient mummy. The latter gets his brother Marky murdered soon thereafter. His ex-wife, Tia, who he still loves, goes missing also. Against all odds, he decides to take revenge against the Russian Mafia thugs responsible.
Well, maybe the odds aren’t so bad once he learns what that mummy head can do. No spoilers here.
All this excitement and wonderful character development is set against the backdrop of the streets of Philadelphia. An author’s note informs us Ford spent some time there but this is obvious in the vivid descriptions of both the city streets and many crazy street people that show up along the way. Some of them are so bizarre the reader assumes they are a product of “truth is stranger than fiction.”
I highly recommend this novella of revenge and regrets. It is thrilling, darkly comic and often poignant as well, without being overly sentimental.
Ever have one of those days where you should’ve stayed in bed because everything seems to go wrong? Today is that day for pawnshop owner, Samson Gallows.
Things start to go downhill when Samson purchases a mummified head from a junkie. Over the next twenty four hours, Samson is forced into a world of murder, mystery and mayhem where he meets some very interesting characters. Between Nick, the junkie he purchased to the head from; the two tortuous Russians he keeps running into; his prostitute friend and confidant, Free Ride Angie and the Crimson Sisterhood, Samson really has his hands full.
While the story is only a novella (weighing in at 125 pages), Robert Ford incorporates all the facets needed for a great story.
Samson and Denial will keep the reader turning the page right up to the very end. It’s story-telling at it’s best, as Ford pens the strangest ideas into a well-thought out and fantastically written tale. The first person narrative and descriptive writing will pull the reader into the story from the gripping beginning and keep them there, right up until the unexpected ending.
Although the paperback version is now sold out, Samson and Denial is available on Amazon for Kindle for $2.99.
5 Stars out of 5
***Samson and Denial is recommended as Mandytory reading***
Bob Ford's prose and voice are deceptively simple, but he always makes sure to slip in a reminder or two that there’s a real smart feller in there. It’s a rare gift in a genre often filled with sculpted, poetic phrasings and raw, brutal depictions; not that there’s anything wrong with either, but Bob’s smooth style definitely sets him apart from the crowd, and that can only be a good thing. This slim, brief taste of a novella is absolutely worth any horror fan’s time, and is a rarity in that it’s a complete, satisfying story in such a short amount of space. Bob’s tale of magic, murder and missing-persons mystery sure would go down a lot smoother, however, if I knew there was a full-length Bob Ford novel coming down the pipes in the near future
This is not a book I would normally read but I'm glad I did. This may be a quick read but it contains a great deal of action and violence and a mummy head.
I had a lot of fun reading this and hated that it ended so soon. Bob Ford is a talented writer that doesn't waste a lot of time on backstories or background. once the story gains momentum there's just no stopping it.
Bottom line if you want a quick action packed and violent read pick this up. You won't be disappointed.
Read it awhile back, and loved it. Just read it again, and it still kicks all sorts of ass. Bob knows how to write a great story, and proves it time and time again. This one is incredible, and well worth the read, folks.
If your life's in danger and someone offers to sell you a mummified head for 20 dollars snap their hand off! SAMSON AND DENIAL is a cool modern splatter novel from Bob Ford. I had never heard of Bob before when I took a gamble on Amazon. I didn't regret it and I urge you to do the same...
I'm a fan of Bob Ford's writing, and this story was no disappointment. A touch of noir, a bit of horror, and a lot of raw, gritty emotion combine to create an altogether entertaining and engaging story. There's enough in here to keep fans of multiple genres entertained. Highly recommended.
Samson And Denial is a page turning must read! This author wields a gifted pen and makes you want more when the final page is read. Read for yourself! This is a truly talented author that will inspire you with his gift of the written word.
A hellish ride through the mean streets of Philly. You never know what's going to happen next with Ford, but as always he ties it all together with the voice of his main character. Bob Ford has always wowed me, and here he does it again.
Ford ticks all the boxes on my, what-I-love-about-a-writer, list. All of them. He doesn't write books. He tells stories. I loved everything about this one — the characters, the gore, the ending — but what I loved most was the writing. Damn. I can't get enough of it. Love those Crimson Sisters.