New Fiction: Down Don’t Bother Me – Jason Miller

I picked up this debut mystery for the author. I’d heard of Jason Miller as half of the Miller Brothers, creators of the graphic novel Redball 6. (Full disclosure: Do I read comics? I do not. But I am related to some rabid young fans.) Redball 6 got the kind of review that might well apply to Jason Miller’s novel, too:

This is a real fun series…[Pretty] damn great….The story is all noir by Jason and Ian Miller and well done and fun noir at that…Seek this one out for its imaginative character, strong plot and fantastically devious artwork.”
Ain’t It Cool News

Substitute “scenario” for “artwork” and that’s kind of the way I felt reading Down Don’t Bother Me, a violent, comic rural coal-mining noir that reminded me of the TV series Justified. It plays on and with noir conventions to deliver a vivid, rollicking read.

As you might imagine, the bookseller fan base is strong in Ohio and Kentucky. It’s Joseph-Beth Bookseller’s Book of the Month in Lexington, KY; they call it “hard-boiled detective meets southern grit. Also hilarious.” Among reviewers, Booklist comments that, “Long stretches of this unusual first novel would seem to require guitar accompaniment. The genre conventions-treacherous women, double-crossing friends, greedy moneymen-seem fresh in Miller’s sensory-rich language….Here’s a strong talent just getting under way.”

[A] bluesy, folksy mystery involving the coal mining industry in Southern Illinois with a home-spun hero in Slim, a coal miner turned unwilling detective.  Alternatively funny and shockingly violent, this mystery reads like a brilliant combination of Joe Lansdale and Craig Johnson.  The writing is crisp and reads like front-porch raconteur web-spinning.  When the violence comes, it is shocking and exciting – Miller really knows how to write a fight scene!  The characters are all fully fleshed and vibrantly eccentric, and the mystery is complex and multi-layered.  I really loved this book, especially Miller’s distinct sense of place and time.  You really feel as if you are in the dark coal mines or the mansions of the mine owners.  It enriches an already wonderful story.  Fans of Justified and Longmire take note!”
— Bill Carl, The Booksellers on Fountain Square, Cincinnati, OH

“Jason Miller suddenly appears in the world of mysteries, a neatly wrapped package tucked under his arm, and presents us with the real thing: a well-written, seamlessly-plotted mystery with a likeable, everyday hero in a well-drawn world nearby but foreign to most of us – Little Egypt, the coal fields of southern Illinois….Slim’s investigation pits him against miners, activists, thugs, owners, the sheriff, and his own girlfriend…. Miller tightly integrates the characters and the scenery into Slim’s story – the narrative is never sparse and never laden with unnecessary description. The tale held me from the very beginning, the reading faster than the motorcycle Slim uses to get around the hills…”
— Allen Murphey, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

Down Don’t Bother Me (9780062362193) by Jason Miller. $14.99 trade paper original. 3/24/15 on sale.

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