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Trouble in the Heartland: Crime Fiction Based on the Songs of Bruce Springsteen

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  80 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Like some born killers, this pairing of crime stories and the songs of Bruce Springsteen is a natural one.

Each of the accomplished authors in this unique anthology chose a Springsteen title as a starting point, and in the criminally inclined spirit of the Boss, drove headlong to wherever that inspiration called. The destinations are as wildly diverse and far-reaching as
Paperback, 1st, 275 pages
Published December 1st 2014 by Gutter Books
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Liam Sweeny
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The first thing you need to know about this compilation of short stories is that you don't have to be a Bruce Springsteen fan to enjoy it. I like Bruce Springsteen, know a few of his songs, and have heard more, but I'm no diehard. The stories in this book are inspired by Bruce Springsteen songs, yes. They have the titles of Bruce Stringsteen songs, yes. But it's what Bruce Springsteen represents: the America of the working class, of the hopes and dreams that dot the rolling countrysides and flow ...more
Michelle Isler
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
You know when you had that one favorite album? You would put it on the turntable and listen to it over and over, because you could not get enough of it? That is how I felt about this anthology. I loved it, from beginning to end. There was not a single bad song, I mean story, in the whole book. What a brilliant idea to take a group of very talented writers and have them write short stories inspired by Bruce Springsteen's songs.
This is a gathering of crime stories. They are not too violent. So, i
Rory Costello
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The concept here is inspired (even if I myself have just a passing interest in the work of Bruce Springsteen). What's more impressive still, though, is the inspiration that this broad array of fine writers drew from the concept. Crime is the bedrock of this collection, but there are other surprising elements to it as well -- a dash of sci-fi and even a funny joke for variety. You'll find numerous different settings, hear many different voices, and be impressed by the skills on display. Only here ...more
P. Henninger
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
To be honest, I was not fond of some of the writing here. I think that the stories had some promise, but the writing fell short of that promise in more cases than I would have liked. Still, most of the stories were quite good and well written.
Mar 06, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english, kindle
3.5 stars, uneven but very enjoyable.
Mar 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of short stories is uneven, some very good, some meh, and most somewhere in between the two extremes. I'd actually like to give it 3.5 stars. Still, I enjoyed it and will probably return to some of the stories later.

I happened upon this book because my wife is a Springsteen fan and while I noodling around the internet looking up Springsteen songs I found that there is a strong element of noir in many of his songs as well as crime themes. Being that crime and noir are two of my fa
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
As a big fan of Springsteen (even my first son's called Bruce) and crime fiction, I was always going to get around to reading this at some point. I finally tracked down a reasonably priced copy on eBay and here we are. Joe Clifford cites in his introduction that "you'd have a tough time finding a more impressive roster of who's who in modern pulp fiction," and he is not wrong. The book is chock full of cars, bars, marriage & murder and a bevy of folks working towards a dream however they can, bu ...more
Stephen Dorneman
Sep 01, 2018 rated it liked it
This collection of 41 short (very short, about 3-4 pages each on the average) crime stories were all inspired by Bruce Springsteen songs, although many have little feel of the song they share a title with. Too many revenge stories, too many ex-cons down on their luck stories, and the constant stream of fatal violence gets tired quick. For fans of the genre worth picking up, but otherwise... meh.
Neil Friedman
Jun 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Some good writing, but mostly disappointed. Though I rarely read short stories, there were only a few of these that were more than interesting. Most of them fell flat.
Of course, I was drawn to this set primarily because of the Springsteen title connection. Beware, however, except for a few nods to Boss songs and lyrics, these stories had only passing allusions to Springsteen.
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
A collection of excellent stories of out-of-working-class born in the USA people whose glory days are way, way behind them. With a few exceptions, the stories are very good, but there's a certain samishness to them that makes this a better book for dipping into than for mainlining. But hey, making a good book last ain't no crime.
Jeff Shelby
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'm a huge Springsteen fan and this anthology hit the nail on the head. Can't pick a favorite story because I really enjoyed all of them. Highly recommended!
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mccrary-shelf
A first class collection from a great group of scribes. If you're a fan of the Boss, crime fiction or both.... check it out people.
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Pam Stack
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Oct 15, 2015
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Dec 10, 2014
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John Anthony Power
rated it it was ok
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Kevin Thornton
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Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Linda Watson
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Mar 14, 2016
Peter Vlieger
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Apr 19, 2018
David L May
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Joe Clifford is the author of several books, including Junkie Love, The One That Got Away, Skunk Train, and the Jay Porter Thriller Series, as well as editor of Trouble in the Heartland: Crime Stories Based on the Songs of Bruce Springsteen and others. Joe’s writing can be found at


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