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CRIME | FICTION
“Like a fine tattoo artist blending blood and ink, Rudolph engraves portraits of complicated individuals onto the rough skin of Mighty, Mighty with no antiseptic — only the recalcitrant images of real people in pain . . . A masterful sophomore effort (following the success of Rudolph’s Four Corners), Mighty, Mighty is a love story of human detritus in concrete jungles, intricately inked into a scarred, yet majestic tattoo. Fans of Barry Hannah, Daniel Woodrell, Denis Johnson, and Pedro Juan Gutiérrez will find it hard to put this novel down.”—Los Angeles Review of Books
“Mighty, Mighty is a gem: dark, hard, and filled with surprising beauty. It is also noir as hell, filled with the kind of people you always worried were down at that bar on the corner, waiting to turn on you.” —Tod Goldberg, author of Gangsterland, Finalist for the 2014 Hammett Prize
“Mighty, Mighty is a hard-boiled hat trick of a novel: a searing family drama, a gripping crime thriller, and a raw, unflinching portrait of lives lived on America’s violent edge.” —Scott O’Connor, author of Half World and Untouchable
“Rudolph writes with personality, each page tattooing itself straight on your brain. Mighty Mighty has voice, that elusive, unteachable, and beautiful trait.” —Joshua Mohr, author of All This Life
“Mighty Mighty lets it all hang out, a boldly affecting story written with flow and swagger, like the best hip-hop.” —Mark Haskell Smith, author of Raw: A Love Story
“A wild, violent ride of a page turner, Mighty, Mighty is also a thoughtful contemplation on how we love and grieve. A beautiful book that wears its messy, empathetic heart on its sleeve.” —Rob Roberge, author of The Cost of Living
Mighty, Mighty is an urban fable about two sisters barely getting by in a filthy Chicago. Dirty apartments, tattoo parlors, food kitchens – these are the markers of home for the struggling girls. Stefy is an artist at Ghost Town, the local tattoo shop, trying to provide for her younger sister Amanda and their ailing grandfather. Amanda is hoping for something better, seeking to escape a past riddled with addiction and an abusive boyfriend. Then comes a drunken encounter in a bar, a violent attack, and Amanda’s ex-boyfriend winds up dead in the bathroom. This puts both sisters in the crosshairs of a violently unstable ex-cop who wants revenge for his son’s murder – and will stop at nothing in seeking his own brand of justice: “Chicago problems, Chicago solutions.”
A sad harbinger of truth comes in Mighty, Mighty’s opening quote from poet Roger Reeves: “Violence is the American version of love.” With the success of Ghettoside by Jill Levoy, and the recent crime-tinged literary fiction of Richard Price and Vu Tran, not to mention the continuing popularity of Dennis Lehane, the reality and lament of urban crime finds a wide readership.
Mighty, Mighty is a startling and accurate portrait of contemporary urban American life.