Member Reviews

Definitely dark and depressing. I enjoyed reading it but honestly, it left me feeling somewhat melancholy. I wouldn't say this book is for everybody. If you are feeling a little bit EMO, you might enjoy it

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This is gritty, dark, and depressing. And ultimately, it wasn't for me and I DNF. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. This isn't one to enjoy but rather to endure,

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Frank Bill is back with a grim tale of people shaped by their trauma. A vet, an abuse victim, and a question: does any of it even matter?

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Frank Bill returns, but sadly for me, this one did not hit the mark. It's one of those where you either buy into the twist or you don't and I was one of those who didn't. Too hackneyed and overdone at this point. Until then you had some memorable scenes and the intriguing character of Miles Knox with some great Vietnam flashbacks, but the bottom really fell out of things at the big reveal.

Bill does squalid drug dens better than anyone and he soars when it comes to low down conflict, but the characters here are on such an obvious collision course that it's almost no fun to read.

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Intimate portrayal of a snapshot of America. A story of PTSD and what thousands of vets deal with every day. A story of struggle in the heart of America, of drugs, poverty and lack of care by the government. A story that rings true in every decade since the Vietnam war. Unfortunately a story that continues today.
Powerful writing by Frank based on his life.

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Back to the Dirt is a gritty tour-de-force set in drug-ravaged middle America. Instead of Batman and Robin, we get Miles, an angry PTSD-suffering Vietnam Vet, working long hours at the local factory and trying to keep his steroid rage in check, and Nathaniel, an ex law officer who was so sick to death of corruption, he let it all go. They are in a small midwestern town with Oxy being traded openly in exchange for wide-eyed stares and hopelessness. Miles’ girlfriend, Shelby, is a stripper who is stuck playing nursemaid for her drunk of a father and drug addict twin brother.

They are all beset by more pain and trauma than anyone could bear, most of all Miles, who when he’s not cracking skulls, thinks he’s back in Vietnam getting shelled or watching his fellow soldiers fall apart. He literally is caught between two worlds and doesn’t know which one he’s in minute by minute.

When Nathaniel’s drug peddling brother is gunned down, Miles and Nathaniel stumble into becoming allies of a sort and set out to find the evil doers and exact vengeance, not exactly easy when Miles is tripping, the walls are melting, and he doesn’t know whether he’s in the jungles of Vietnam or back home.

What sets this unlikely crime story apart from others is the depth of hopelessness everyone bears and the exacting mental toll all the lifelong agony causes.

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Frank Bill shows a great example of ptsd and dealing with the trauma of war. It had a great concept and fulfilled the promise of the description. I was invested in the story and getting to know the characters in this world. The characters felt like real people and dealt with the situation in realistic ways. Frank Bill has a great writing style and I'm excited to see where he'll go next.

“I know the shade of characters we’re being dealt, but something I don’t got a lot of at the moment are choices or time. I’m Shadrack’s guardian. And I won’t rest until Wylie’s been found; you can either help me or stay with him.”

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