Brendan Connell's The Heel was published by Snuggly Books in October 2017.

Information Brendan Connell:

Brendan Connell was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1970. He has had fiction published in numerous places, including McSweeney's, Adbusters, and the World Fantasy Award winning anthologies Leviathan 3 (The Ministry of Whimsy 2002), and Strange Tales (Tartarus Press 2003). His published books are: The Translation of Father Torturo (Prime Books, 2005), Dr. Black and the Guerrillia (Grafitisk Press, 2005), Metrophilias (Better Non Sequitur, 2010), Unpleasant Tales (Eibonvale Press, 2010), The Life of Polycrates and Other Stories for Antiquated Children (Chômu Press, 2011), The Architect (PS Publishing, 2012), Lives of Notorious Cooks (Chômu Press, 2012), Miss Homicide Plays the Flute (Eibonvale Press, 2013), The Cutest Girl in Class (co-written with Quentin S. Crisp and Justin Isis, Snuggly Books, 2013), The Galaxy Club (Chômu Press, 2014), The Metanatural Adventures of Dr. Black (PS Publishing, 2014), Cannibals of West Papua (Zagava, 2015), Jottings from a Far Away Place (Snuggly Books, 2015), Clark (Snuggly Books, 2016), The Heel (Snuggly Books, 2017) and Pleasant Tales (Eibonvale Press, 2017).

Click here to visit his official website.

Information about The Heel:

New Mexico, 1974. Mitch Mazzola is just trying to make a living. Dealing in Native American artifacts seems like an easy way to do this - but so have lots of other things before: selling typewriter ribbons, Bibles, shoes, and Sweet Dart Cosmetics. It just goes to show - just because a fellow’s lucky with the ladies, it doesn’t mean he’s lucky in lucre. But maybe that’s all about to change. Fifty thousand dollars in a brown paper bag says it might - as long as things don’t go wrong.


Brendan Connell's The Heel is an entertaining novel about the life of a man who is lucky with the ladies, but bad at keeping his jobs. It's an interesting foray into the world of literary pulp fiction and marks a new direction for the author, because it's distinctly different from his previous works of fiction.

As many experienced readers are perhaps painfully aware of, it's a bit difficult to find original and well written fiction, because many authors tend to take the easy way out and deliver soulless stories and never dare to experiment with storytelling in fear of alienating readers. If you are such a reader, you'll be pleased to read this novel, because it features a fascinating blend of light-hearted entertainment, interesting scenes and conscious wrestling with challenging issues.

Before I write more about this novel, I'll mention that it may not be to everyone's liking, as is the case with the author's other works, but that's just one of the reasons why it's worth reading. I personally consider this novel to be a small gem of pulpy storytelling that offers intriguing moments and surprises to readers who love somewhat strange and twisted stories.

In this novel, Mitch Mazzola tries to make a living by dealing in Native American artifacts. His boss, George, works him hard. One day, he gets a visit from a young man, Calvin, who claims to be his son. Calvin has a proposition for Mitch that will bring them both money, because Calvin needs the money to be free. Mitch agrees to the plan of holding Calvin ransom for $50,000, but soon he finds himself in serious trouble...

This is the beginning of a story that tells of Mitch Mazzola, his love life and his work in an interesting and slightly quirky way in the 1970s.

Mitch Mazzola is a fascinating protagonist, because he's a bit self-centered and lacks sympathetic qualities. He has sold or tried to sell almost anything - magazine subscriptions, bibles, cosmetics etc - in his time. He has been lucky with many women, but he has never been able to hold a job for a long time. Calvin is also an interesting protagonist, because he claims to be the result of one of Mitch's sexual adventures twenty years ago.

I enjoyed reading about what happened when Mitch accepted Calvin's proposal, because everything doesn't go exactly as planned. I was also intrigued about how good Mitch was at sellings Native American artifacts to people, because he seemed to have a natural talent for being a salesman.

The epic fantasy flavoured retellings of Mitch's life add a cool touch of class to the story, because they reflect what has happened to Mitch. These brief fantasy moments serve as refreshing pauses during the story and allow readers to think about what they've just read.

I enjoyed reading about how the author writes about the way of life in the 1970s, because his descriptions feel believable and convincing. The author also writes fluently and unflichingly about sex. His depictions of sex are akin to portrayals of sexual activities that can be found in many pulp fiction stories. These scenes have a fascinatingly pulpy flavour to them.

The ending of this novel, especially the final sentence, is simply brilliant, because it comes as a surprise. It's exactly what I've come to expect from the author, because he has an almost uncanny ability to deliver this kind of surprises.

I find the author's writing style refreshingly fast-paced and vidid. He seems to have understood what literary pulp fiction is all about, because he writes well about the crime elements and spices up the story with a couple of fantastical scenes that are not normally found in this kind of fiction.

Brendan Connell's The Heel is an intriguing reading experience, because the author has come up with an entertaining and thought-provoking story about one man's life and choices. Because this novel is an original exploration of themes and issues ranging from crime and loneliness to happiness and parenthood, it will appeal to readers who enjoy reading something different.

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