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South Village (Ash McKenna Series #3)

South Village (Ash McKenna Series #3)

by Rob Hart

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Ash McKenna used to be an amateur P.I.—emphasis on ‘amateur’. Despite good intentions, he made a mess of his life in New York, so tried to build a new one in Portland. But after a traumatic turn of events, he ends up on a commune in the Georgia woods, binge-drinking cheap whiskey and waiting for his passport to flee the country and nightmares that


Ash McKenna used to be an amateur P.I.—emphasis on ‘amateur’. Despite good intentions, he made a mess of his life in New York, so tried to build a new one in Portland. But after a traumatic turn of events, he ends up on a commune in the Georgia woods, binge-drinking cheap whiskey and waiting for his passport to flee the country and nightmares that have followed him.

Then a man is found dead. Known only as ‘Crusty Pete’, the commune dweller is sprawled in the dirt, having fallen from a high rope bridge. It’s written off as an accident, but Ash suspects something more sinister. As he looks into Pete’s death, Ash is shocked to find the supposedly peaceful community houses a rogue faction preparing to commit an unspeakable act of violence.

Ash has to make a choice: run, or put his skills to use and try to stop them. But he doesn’t know who to trust, or where the faction is planning to strike. As he struggles to put a stop to the violence, while keeping his own demons at bay, Ash finds that it’s only a matter of time before one or the other puts him down for good.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Hart’s lively third outing for occasional PI Ash McKenna (after City of Rose), Crusty Pete, a member of the rural Georgia commune South Bridge, is dead, killed when a rope bridge breaks under him. It looks like an accident, but Ash is not so sure. Preoccupied with his guilt over questionable past actions of his own and feeling that Pete’s death is none of his business anyway, he concentrates on cooking for the commune and preparing to flee as soon as his passport comes through. But events toss him about, bringing in a mysterious cipher, a vague conspiracy, another death, and a black-ops raid from the FBI. Well-realized and interesting characters range from ex-Marine Aesop, who knows everything, to Tibo, the founder of the commune, to Sunny and Moony, attractive ladies who run a little Skype sex business from their trailer. The story zigs and zags and then heads off in yet another direction, keeping one step ahead of the reader until it ends up in an unexpected but satisfying spot. Agent: Bree Ogden, D4EO Literary Agency (Oct.)
From the Publisher
Named one of the best Mysteries of the Year by the Boston Globe

"Ash's determined sleuthing and the book's deft grasp of the oddball hippie milieu combine to provide persuasive entertainment."
—Toronto Star

"Hart delivers a suspenseful, gritty third book in the Ash McKenna series that admirers of the Southern grit lit tradition of Daniel Woodrell will enjoy. Readers of David Joy’s Where All Light Tends To Go will appreciate the rural setting in this novel, which can be read as a stand-alone."
—Library Journal

"Lively...The story zigs and zags and then heads off in yet another direction, keeping one step ahead of the reader until it ends up in an unexpected but satisfying spot."
Publishers Weekly

"The results are by turns loopy, action-packed, droll, and believable."
Kirkus Reviews

"Excellent." Seattle Review of Books

"Ash is truly fighting a war with himself on two different fronts...Each revelation, each symptom, is revealed in an organic manner that reads honest and true. Just go out and buy it."
CrimeSpree Magazine

"Like any good book, things aren’t what they seem on the surface...a complex story where the line between the good guys and the bad guys is blurry, where the tough people are full of compassion and the seemingly innocent are willing to threaten or worse to get what they want. And the results reflect that reality."
—Criminal Element

Praise for CITY OF ROSE

"CITY OF ROSE has my favorite kind of hero, a tough guy romantic with a smart mouth and a dark past. Terrifically written, and populated with rich characters, this book had me by the throat from page one."
—Chelsea Cain, New York Times bestselling author of ONE KICK and HEARTSICK

“Brilliant…CITY OF ROSE, Rob Hart's latest Ash McKenna novel, is as sharp as the devil himself. Hart is a master storyteller who can turn a city into just as vital as any flesh and blood character.”
—Brian Panowich, author of BULL MOUNTAIN

"Well executed and strikes an appealing balance, rough without being sadistic, gritty without being sordid. ...an engaging read...characterized by Hart's quick and witty turns of phrase."
Kirkus Reviews

"Appealing...readers will enjoy (Hart's) playful, jaded hero and twisty plot."
Publishers Weekly

"CITY OF ROSE is briskly told, and Ash’s arch, loopy narration is often very funny. It’s been a good season for thrillers with a touch of comedy."

"CITY OF ROSE is as good as hoped...the sharp voice covers — barely — the raw emotion roiling within Ash as he searches for a friend's missing girl, learning parts of Portland he'd rather not see because in fact, he knows the violence within them all too well."

Praise for NEW YORKED

"The New York of NEW YORKED is a place of heartbreak and murder that I highly recommend you visit." —Josh Bazell, author of BEAT THE REAPER

"Outstanding...I loved this novel. It may be the most quixotic hard-boiled I've read in ages. With clever nods to Chandler and lots of muscular metaphors, Hart has written an achingly lovely farewell to one man's past."
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

"Hart's debut is a terse, grim, gritty, quickly moving noir that deftly explores post-9/11 New York...Ash is a wrecking ball of an investigator, a direct descendant of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer."
Mystery Scene

"Edgy... relentless pacing and strong sense of place." Publishers Weekly

"There are good action scenes, nice offbeat characters, but what lingers is the swoony dialogue... Noir with a tingle of doomed but sweet romance." Booklist

"A bloody valentine to a New York fast disappearing, this debut is an urban noir populated with memorable characters."
Library Journal

"A hard-boiled crime novelist in the vein of greats like Dashiell Hammett and James M. Cain, not to mention modern masters like Lawrence Block and Dennis Lehane."
Staten Island Advance

“The literary version of THE WARRIORS.” —Lyndsay Faye, author of THE GODS OF GOTHAM

"One part Dennis Lehane, one part Lee Child, and one part pure Rob Hart." —Jenny Milchman, author of COVER OF SNOW and RUIN FALLS

"With a deft eye for the dirt under its polished fingernails, Rob Hart finds the rotten core inside today's Big Apple." —Todd Robinson, author of THE HARD BOUNCE and editor of THUGLIT

"New York is a verb, and the chase is on. You won't be able to turn the pages fast enough." —Suzy Vitello, author of THE MOMENT BEFORE and THE EMPRESS CHRONICLES

“A masterful debut… this is a book that sticks with you.” —CrimeSpree Magazine

"Clever, witty, full of attitude—but never full of itself—Rob Hart’s debut novel doesn’t waste a syllable." —David Corbett, author of THE DEVIL'S REDHEAD and BLOOD OF PARADISE

"Like a sucker punch to the guts before you turn the first page." —Matthew McBride, author of FRANK SINATRA IN A BLENDER and A SWOLLEN RED SUN

Kirkus Reviews
Sometime detective Ash McKenna, not exactly on the run but once again headed away from stuff rather than toward it, finds that you really can’t go home again if your home is a Georgia commune.Even though he’s put a rush on it, the new passport that’s going to take Ash far away from Portland and his latest brush with violent death (City of Rose, 2016, etc.) won’t be ready for two weeks. For lack of a better choice, he hitchhikes to South Village, the alternative community he used to call his own. The timing couldn’t be better for the arrival of an unlicensed private eye, for a resident called Crusty Pete has just fallen to his death from a rope bridge, and it looks to Ash as if his death wasn’t an accident. It also looks as if Pete was up to no good. His meager personal effects include a much-marked-up arson manual, and he seems to have been sending coded messages outside the commune. Tibo, the owner and leader of South Village, reminds Ash that skinny, clueless Gideon, not him, is the security chief, but nothing about Gideon makes Ash feel more secure. So he quietly arranges to barter forbidden meals of bacon for access to a computer he can use to get help from his friend Bombay. And after a team from the FBI, or maybe some other equally malevolent federal agency, swoops down to grab Tibo and Ash—along with longtime residents Cannabelle, Magda, Katashi, Job, Aesop, and Marx—and ply them with questions about the Soldiers of Gaia, he’s ready to take more aggressive action, even if it means unmasking the community’s fondest myths about itself. Hart takes a good deal off the intensity of his hero’s first two adventures. The results are by turns loopy, action-packed, droll, and believable but never exactly compelling.

Product Details

Polis Books
Publication date:
Ash McKenna Series , #3
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Rob Hart is author of New Yorked and City of Rose, featuring Ash McKenna. He is the associate publisher at MysteriousPress.com and the class director at LitReactor. Previously, he has been a political reporter, the communications director for a politician, and a commissioner for the city of New York. Rob is the author of The Last Safe Place: A Zombie Novella, and his short stories have appeared in publications like Thuglit, NEEDLE, Shotgun Honey, All Due Respect, and Helix Literary Magazine. He lives in New York City. Visit him online at robwhart.com or at @robwhart.

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