Pennies for the damned is the follow up to Hope for the Wicked and stars Larry Laughlin, the purveyor of a convoluted righteousness steeped in violence and a seasoned killer. An ex-hitman who tortured and killed the worst of men, those who truly deserved it, he tried retirement but you can never really leave the life that he lived. In Hope for the Wicked, he lost it all and now he’s back with revenge on his mind. The target, his abusive Father due to be released from prison and Larry is waiting for him.
Unfortunately there are also people waiting for Larry, one with a job offer and others with enough weaponry to take a small army. He emerges from both encounters with information that a plan is afoot to murder his brother, closely followed by a thirteen year old girl pointing a gun at his back. Her adopted name is Brooklyn and Larry has stumbled into the underage sex trade, his new debutante is much sought after and Larry has a world of pain heading his way.
Larry Laughlin walks under an impending cloud of doom, he makes light of it in amusing circumstances, he takes advice from his dead wife but the introduction of young Brooklyn is a masterstroke by the author. A street wise kid, forced into a sickening life, but she adds a fresh impetus to the story and a good deal of humour. While reinforcing the theme of abuse and the depraved actions of certain members or better described as animals of our society. The topic of abuse is a big feature in the story but not an overriding one and the depth of detail isn’t enough to turn away and think twice before continuing.
The story imparts more of our protagonist’s history, returning as ever to Edward Lorns base camp the town of Bays End and told in first person we relive his childhood abuse, shoot some shit and line up some vengeance. On the whole death is prevalent in this tale, no-one survives unscathed least of all one-eared bullet magnet Larry Laughlin riding on a wave of terror.
Words by Paul Nelson