Written by John Bobo — The McCutchins are bad – seven brothers, abandoned by their fathers and getting precious little assistance from their alcoholic mother. From a young age, they’ve been destined for a life of mischief, mayhem and petty crime. They’re all heading for lives spent in and out of jail until the youngest McCutchin is handed a second chance. The question is, will he take it, and what will he make of it?
Chatanooga, Tennessee is a crossroads on the Mississippi River, but the McCutchins don’t really get to see many of the Scenic City’s famed views, particularly the youngest – who doesn’t ever get a name, other than ‘McCutchin’. And, apparently, that name enough to land you in prison or dead. In the opening of this short story, McCutchin is in court, on trial for aggravated burglary, among other charges. But he has found a way to get out of youth detention: committing assault with a deadly weapon. By committing a further, more serious crime when he’s already had the book thrown at him, he figures he’ll get put in the workhouse instead of youth detention. He thinks he has it all worked out, but it turns out maybe he’s not as smart as he thought. Despite feeling like a real badass, and despite the plan he has worked out, a meeting with the prison warden might just change the course of his life completely.
John Bobo is a lawyer and the author of many short stories, a book of advice for new prosecutors, and one novel. Most of his work tells the story of jaded and occasionally deviant prosecutors, trying their hardest to get the criminals behind bars. This one’s a bit different – it comes from the other side, the story of a criminal trying to live by his own set of rules. They include no snitching, take your punishment, just try to survive. His six older brothers have taught him well, but coming up on his 18th birthday, the youngest McCutchin is given a choice that they never prepared him for.
This short story – and it’s quite short, at 37 pages I got through it in one lunch break, while eating – goes through the full history of the McCutchin family, and reads like a prequel to a story I’d love to read. Whether the character of McCutchin is coming back I can’t tell but the short story ends in a way that sets up a sequel, like the Terminator promising: “I’ll be back.” The length of this story would almost make it more of an opening chapter to something bigger.
The good thing about reading on Kindle is that you can pick up stories like this for less than the price of a chain-store coffee, and often get a lot more satisfaction. Of course, the problem with reading on Kindle is that there are a lot of them out there, and you can’t always tell which ones are good, which is where crimefictionlover comes in. We’ve always got a heap of recommendations for your e-reader – stories of all lengths across all sub-genres. A story like this will always leave me wanting more – more character development, more detail, more than just action and wisecracking (which is what Taser-Burned Badass has in spades), but of course the other good thing about reading a story like this is once you’ve read one, it’s so easy to read another, and then another, and so on.
Taser-Burned Badass is a frenetic, electrifying tale of youth gone off the rails and we look forward to finding out more about McCutchin.
In the meantime, click here for more crime fiction for your Kindle.
CFL Rating: 3 Stars