Bad Penny by John D. Brown is Visceral

Bad PennyBad Penny by John D. Brown is Visceral was one of the most surprising reading experiences of my year, to date, and in all the right ways.

John D. Brown, who is otherwise known for his fantasy writing, has written a story that is both compelling and entertaining, not to mention viscerally realistic.

Bad Penny‘s hero, Frank,  is a nice guy. He’s a felon, the result of a few poor choices, but he’s trying to make things right, live life clean, and start anew and all that. Not unlike Liam Neeson’s character in the film Taken, Frank is a trained warrior, the product of his service in the US Special Forces. When his former cell mate from prison shows up and then disappears with Franks nephew, Frank takes to the road after them. He is assisted by what is perhaps the least likely of sidekicks I’ve ever seen in the thriller genre: a do-gooder Mormon dad in a not-so-souped up minivan and a coterie of Wyoming ranchers with more heart than muscle.

It’s an unlikely group, but Brown makes it feel authentic, taking them from bad to worse as they race against time and villains across the Wyoming and Colorado mountains and prairie.

Without any remorse, I willingly admit that I had a hard time putting the book down the few nights that it took me to read Bad Penny. Each scene seemed to beg me to read just a little further.

What made the read perhaps most interesting was how real it felt. As I closed the book on the last page, I couldn’t help but go to the internet for more research into human trafficking and prostitution, two of the felonies that get raised by the baddies in Frank’s hunt for his nephew.

Bad Penny was not what I was looking for when I met Brown at a con earlier this year, but it was by far one of the best reads of my summer reading list. I look forward to seeing what Brown spins out for Frank next.

Bad Penny Book Cover Bad Penny
John D. Brown
Blacksword Books
December 1, 2013
Salt Lake Comic Con

Frank, an Army Special Forces vet, screwed up, went to prison, and is now out, living in small-town Wyoming, trying to go straight.

But then some old "friends" from the big house come to collect on a favor, and everything goes totally nuts, forcing Frank to go outside the law to save the one thing he cherishes most.

About Daniel

Daniel Burton lives in Salt Lake County, Utah, where he practices law by day and everything else by night. He reads about history, politics, and current events, as well as more serious genres such as science fiction and fantasy. You can also follow him on his blog where he muses on politics, the law, books and ideas.