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Description

Product Description

“Rough and ready suspense, encompassing a wide array of characters from the sour side of life” from the author of Frank Sinatra in a Blender (Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter’s Bone ).

In Gasconade County, Missouri—once called the meth capital of the world—Deputy Sheriff Dale Banks discovers $52,000 hidden in the broken-down trailer that Jerry Dean Skaggs uses for cooking crystal. And he takes it. Banks knows what he did was wrong, but he did it for all the right reasons. At least, he thinks so. But for every wrong, there is a consequence.

Jerry Dean can’t afford to lose that $52,000—he owes it to his partners and to a crooked cop. He also can’t afford to disappoint the crazed and fearsome Reverend Butch Pogue, who is expecting Jerry Dean to deliver the chemicals the reverend needs for his next batch of meth. To avoid the holy man’s wrath, Jerry Dean sets in motion a series of events that will threaten Banks’s family, his life, and everything he thinks he knows about the world.

Review

“Matthew McBride’s new novel,  A Swollen Red Sun, is rough and ready suspense, encompassing a wide array of characters from the sour side of life, and smashing them together with vigorous and blunt prose.” —Daniel Woodrell, author of  The Maid’s Version and  Winter’s Bone

“The words practically vibrate off the page in Matthew McBride’s amped-up and intricately plotted novel about meth freaks and dirty cops, A Swollen Red Sun. Filled with scenes of both tremendous brutality and heartrending compassion, it is the best fictional depiction of the current drug epidemic raging across the Midwest that I have ever read.” —Donald Ray Pollock, author of  Knockemstiff and  The Devil All the Time

A Swollen Red Sun, simply put, is an epic piece of modern crime fiction. But within that, McBride never loses his sense of powerful intimacy with the characters, their lives, their families, and their demons.” —Todd Robinson, author of The Hard Bounce and editor of Thuglit

“Memorable, unique, and at times, even haunting. Every character rings true from the feckless to the noble to the downright frightening. . . . [With] dark country humor, A Swollen Red Sun is a must read.” —Johnny Shaw, Anthony Award–winning author of Big Maria and Plaster City

“Matthew McBride is one of those rare writers who can have you reeling in shock one minute, and laughing out loud the next.” —John Rector, author of Already Gone

“Make no mistake, McBride is the king of Chainsaw Noir, and there’s no one else who can step to the throne.” —Chuck Wendig, author of Blackbirds

“Matthew McBride writes like a train doing 80 miles an hour towards a curve rated for 30. The doors are rattling, the couplings are screaming, and you’re riding the blind, hoping like hell that the destination lives up to the ride. Which it does, and more. Matthew McBride is exactly my kind of writer, and  Swollen Red Sun is precisely my kind of book.” —Benjamin Whitmer, author of  Cry Father



“Read [ Frank Sinatra in a Blender] in a day. Loved it!” —Charlie Sheen

“McBride’s novel combines the backwoods creepiness of Nic Pizzolatto’s HBO series True Detective, the understated country humor of Johnny Shaw’s Big Maria, and the sensitivity to character and nuance of Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone.” — Booklist

About the Author

Matthew McBride is a former assembly-line worker living in rural Missouri. In his words, “These people are the people I know and see every day, and this is the world I know.” He is also the author of the cult hit Frank Sinatra in a Blender.

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4 out of 54 out of 5
190 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Cheryl Stout
5.0 out of 5 starsVine Customer Review of Free Product
Doing crystal meth will lift you up until you break. - Third Eye Blind
Reviewed in the United States on August 15, 2014
This story takes place in Gasconade County, Missouri - once called meth capital of the world. Meth abuse is everywhere nowadays. I know our area here in southern Oregon has a terrible problem with it. The tale reminds me of others I have read about the drug... See more
This story takes place in Gasconade County, Missouri - once called meth capital of the world. Meth abuse is everywhere nowadays. I know our area here in southern Oregon has a terrible problem with it.

The tale reminds me of others I have read about the drug battles - Winter''s Bone by Daniel Woodrell; the The Crank Trilogy: Crank; Glass; Fallout by Ellen Hopkins; and the in-your-face writing style reminds me of Johnny Shaw''s books. Also throw in the tough edginess of the award-winning television show "Justified" with its drug wars.

Tough, gritty believable characters (it''s hard to tell the good guys from the bad) and the author has done an admirable job of bringing small-town Missouri to life - from the tweakers to the good old boy cops to the radical, raging Reverend.

This isn''t a feel-good book but it is well-written and held my interest all the way through. If you want to read great crime fiction and a realistic story of methamphetamine use and abuse, try this out.
28 people found this helpful
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Suzanne Steele
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Keeping it real
Reviewed in the United States on September 18, 2015
Tell me there''s a preacher who hides a woman in the basement with a ball gag in her mouth and I''m on board--yeah I''m twisted like that--and so is this book--in a very good way. I don''t believe I have to dream up monsters to see the horror that exists in reality; all we have... See more
Tell me there''s a preacher who hides a woman in the basement with a ball gag in her mouth and I''m on board--yeah I''m twisted like that--and so is this book--in a very good way. I don''t believe I have to dream up monsters to see the horror that exists in reality; all we have to do is look at our fellow man in a drug crazed state and it will become all too evident just how truly horrible things can get.
When a lawman steals $52,000 it sets off a chain of events that touch many more lives than he ever could have anticipated; and not in a good way. This is a very candid look at a very real problem in many rural areas and that is what makes it so scary; because it''s true... it may be fictional in its telling of truth, but none-the-less it is real and the author does a very good job keeping it real.
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D. Scott
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Skaggs Is In It Up To His Neck
Reviewed in the United States on May 7, 2015
It is hard to tell the good guys from the bad in Matthew McBride’s “A Swollen Red Sun.” Deputy Sheriff and devoted family man Dale Banks finds $52,000 hidden in a meth trailer cat box and takes it before he even has a chance to think about it. He has kids heading to... See more
It is hard to tell the good guys from the bad in Matthew McBride’s “A Swollen Red Sun.” Deputy Sheriff and devoted family man Dale Banks finds $52,000 hidden in a meth trailer cat box and takes it before he even has a chance to think about it. He has kids heading to college. No one will miss it, will they? If they do, what can they do about it? Well, it turns out that the money belongs to unstable meth cook Jerry Dean Skaggs and the answer is plenty.

The characters are fairly believable and gritty in this meth-ravaged rural Missouri nightmare where desperation and morality fight for supremacy. Instead of right and wrong being black and white here, things swirl together into grimy shades of gray. Skaggs is in it up to his neck. He owes money to everyone, including crooked cops, and has to answer to the deranged Reverend Pogue who runs the whole operation from his isolated fringe religious cult compound on Goat Hill with his two wives and mentally challenged son. Jerry Dean is coming for his money if he has to stay up for a week to do it.

The most sympathetic character is probably Olen Brandt, an 81 year old farmer doing things the old way. He has very little left besides his dog and his land, yet he continues to soldier on despite being surrounded by the steady encroachment of decay and easy money.

This is a fast-paced read about desperate people, but the writing feels a bit cartoonish and pushed at times. The characters could be fleshed out more and there could be more realistic depictions of the consequences involved with their poor decision making. Also I was disappointed in the ending – it felt as though there was another one written but McBride backed off and gave us this one instead. If you slam your foot on the gas of the narrative and drive that car like a bat out of Hell deep through the wilds of meth country, readers want to see where it goes. An author should trust his instincts and take it all the way.

Matthew McBride shows promise with “A Swollen Red Sun” and I look forward to reading his other work (”Frank Sinatra in a Blender”). I want to rate this 3 ½ stars with a positive look to the future, so I’ll round it up to 4.
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Pete Andrews
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Mayhem in Missouri!
Reviewed in the United States on April 10, 2017
If you don''t like plot lines that leave you stuttering, "I didn''t see that coming", do NOT read this book. If on the other hand you''ve been fortunate enough to stumble upon literature in the the new "Ozark Noir" genre, purchase and read this immediately. the... See more
If you don''t like plot lines that leave you stuttering, "I didn''t see that coming", do NOT read this book. If on the other hand you''ve been fortunate enough to stumble upon literature in the the new "Ozark Noir" genre, purchase and read this immediately. the twists and turns in this gritty thriller had my head spinning almost from page one. Almost everyone, even the protagonist deputy sheriff, has done someone wrong in this book and you find yourself pulling for the "best" bad guy. It all works out in the end, but remember: it''s not the destination, it''s the journey, and this is one wild journey through through the Missouri backcountry.
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Dman4227
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great Second Novel
Reviewed in the United States on July 29, 2014
McBride’s second book is every bit as good as his first and that is saying a lot. It is a radically different type of book, which seems to prove that McBride is adept at writing any type of book he sets his mind to and it will be a winner. This book shows what men do... See more
McBride’s second book is every bit as good as his first and that is saying a lot. It is a radically different type of book, which seems to prove that McBride is adept at writing any type of book he sets his mind to and it will be a winner.
This book shows what men do to get by in tough times, what they do when they are born into a life of poverty and what they do when they cannot escape the pulls of drugs.
The characters range from bad men with bad intentions who do bad things, to good guys with good intentions that do both good and bad things. It is McBride’s storytelling that allows you to understand his characters’ actions and still see the goodness within them when they do bad things. His ability to flesh out the characters is one of the strongest aspects of this book.
The story has a few surprises, many highlights and is an overall satisfying read. McBride writes great short stories and great novels. Anyone who is not reading him needs to rectify that immediately.
2 people found this helpful
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J. D. O'Connor
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
McBride Rolls Leonard and Pelicanos Into Big Fat Spliff & Lights it with a Blowtorch
Reviewed in the United States on December 29, 2016
This is a great gritty narrative about backwoods bad guys and complicated good guys. The prose is sweet and sad and hopeful and hopeless, all at the same time. I read this book just after I closed the last page of McBride''s first novel: Frank Sinatra in a Blender, which... See more
This is a great gritty narrative about backwoods bad guys and complicated good guys. The prose is sweet and sad and hopeful and hopeless, all at the same time. I read this book just after I closed the last page of McBride''s first novel: Frank Sinatra in a Blender, which hooked me forever on anything he writes in the future. This one, A Swollen Red Sun, is uniquely different, yet just as satisfying--that is if you have a hankering for a wild ride through a terrible place, where some sins are punished and others rewarded.
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James Heath
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
But not if you''re looking for something uplifting.
Reviewed in the United States on April 23, 2020
I don''t know that I''ve ever met so many despicable people in a long time. This novel is exciting and blood pressure raising, but definitely not for the faint of heart.
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Dave Drysdale
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
... I had mixed feelings about this book because I loved his first one so much
Reviewed in the United States on July 16, 2014
Genius At Work I had mixed feelings about this book because I loved his first one so much. Frank Sinatra in a Blender will probably go down as one of my favorite book of all time, but A Swollen Red Sun will be a strong second. My expectations were high but I was... See more
Genius At Work
I had mixed feelings about this book because I loved his first one so much. Frank Sinatra in a Blender will probably go down as one of my favorite book of all time, but A Swollen Red Sun will be a strong second. My expectations were high but I was quickly all but transported to a world completely unknown to me before I even realized it. Like a good hypnotist, McBride put me under very quickly without my knowledge, and like any good rollercoaster, the ride was over before I knew it. And while I was left very satisfied and amazed by what I had just read, at the same time I felt myself begging for more.
McBride is such an amazing writer I don’t know how he does what he does and can be so young. I’ve read he has no real education beyond what life has taught him, but I’d say life has taught him a lot because this book will one day become a classic that will inspire other writer’s to write. In a nutshell, he truly might be the voice for the writer for my generation: Generation X.
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Top reviews from other countries

M. Sumner
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Shades of Breaking Bad...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 5, 2018
I cannot remember another occasion when I have read a book based on the recommendation of another fictional character! A Swollen Red Sun according to Jack Taylor is in his top ten. I suppose I should thank Ken Bruen... I enjoy a good thriller but perhaps not so brutal as...See more
I cannot remember another occasion when I have read a book based on the recommendation of another fictional character! A Swollen Red Sun according to Jack Taylor is in his top ten. I suppose I should thank Ken Bruen... I enjoy a good thriller but perhaps not so brutal as this. The author, Matthew McBride, lives in rural Missouri. He knows the people of Gasconade County. Well, I trust he doesn''t know any of the lowlives that feature here. Meth freaks, dirty cops, the fearsome Reverend Butch Pogue. Deputy Sheriff Dale Banks discovers $52,000 hidden in the broken-down trailer that Jerry Dean Skaggs uses for cooking crystal. Shades of Breaking Bad here. Banks takes the money and sets in motion a spiral of violence and revenge killings. He thinks he took the money for all the right reasons. But there is a consequence. Jerry Dean cannot afford to lose that money - he owes it to his partners.... A desperate tale of corruption, drugs and morality that contains a great deal of gratuitous thuggery. Not sure I quite agree with you, Jack!
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W. A. Burt
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
As subtle as an elephant''s trunk.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 22, 2020
A Swollen Red Sun is a fatal cocktail of violence,money,greed and drugs. A bunch of nasty people roam the pages of this book and some of them are supposed to protect and serve. Its gory,its way over the top, but its oh so readable!
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ozricz
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
it ain''t all good! This is a derivative tale of poor folk ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 14, 2014
Yet another ''Southern noir'' tale. This stuff is flavour-of-the-month just now, but, it ain''t all good! This is a derivative tale of poor folk trying to survive in a Nation that won''t acknowledge they even exist, which engenders all my sympathy, having spent time in the good...See more
Yet another ''Southern noir'' tale. This stuff is flavour-of-the-month just now, but, it ain''t all good! This is a derivative tale of poor folk trying to survive in a Nation that won''t acknowledge they even exist, which engenders all my sympathy, having spent time in the good ol'' US of A. A nation with a conviction to fight those from without that has never understood that the lack of welfare of it''s own countrymen poses a threat from those disgruntled within... comes a time, people... There are great contemporary Southern authors who really can write: Daniel Woodrell, William Gay, & Larry Brown. They imbue humour & soul into their protagonists. This guy, along with Donald Ray Pollock, is gritty, gruesome & authentic, but both create characters with narrow dimensions that have scant literary depth or saving grace: you''re glad to see ''em all rot in whichever Hell they are destined to enter into... Yet, it''s still a good read!!
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Ewing Grahame
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
where even the good guys steal and the bad guys
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 30, 2014
This, the follow-up to his coruscating debut, Frank Sinatra In A Blender, established McBride as one of the leading lights of 21st Century noir, where even the good guys steal and the bad guys...let''s just say you don''t ever want to meet the bad guys. McBride has a real...See more
This, the follow-up to his coruscating debut, Frank Sinatra In A Blender, established McBride as one of the leading lights of 21st Century noir, where even the good guys steal and the bad guys...let''s just say you don''t ever want to meet the bad guys. McBride has a real talent, although - like its predecessor - the book would benefit from some more extensive proof reading. That minor quibble apart, anyone who cares at all about the American crime writing - hell, writing in general - should get aboard this train.
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Dwayne McIntosh
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Small towns and drugs
Reviewed in Canada on March 15, 2020
Seems like a common thing if you read the news. Always seems to be meth at the root of it, too. McBride nails the small town everyone knows your name thing. Which, being from a small town, I appreciate. The names that ring out and their associates, the local legends and...See more
Seems like a common thing if you read the news. Always seems to be meth at the root of it, too. McBride nails the small town everyone knows your name thing. Which, being from a small town, I appreciate. The names that ring out and their associates, the local legends and stories that seem ever present no matter the town. The little things that tie everything together in this story and the pacing of it make for a great read.
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