Bad Luck City

Sim Palmer is bored as hell...Journalism for a Vegas tabloid is less exciting than expected. One phone call from a local gangster changes that; Sim soon finds himself battling against the criminal underworld. He's about to discover a family history best left buried.

Matt Phillips brings you an exciting and fast-paced novella. The first in a series of Knuckle Cracking Novellas brought to you by Near To The Knuckle.

Matt Phillips lives in San Diego. He has worked as a bartender, waiter, film festival administrator, and newspaper reporter. He studied creative writing at the University of Texas, El Paso

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Tom Leins

Last year, Matt Phillips demonstrated his desert noir credentials with Redbone (Number Thirteen Press), a murky, slow-burning slice of Americana. More immediate than its predecessor, Bad Luck City is a very different beast, but no less entertaining. In crime fiction, the notion of a dogged investigative journalist pursuing a hot lead into ominous territory is as well-worn as a crumpled fedora, or an ash-streaked suit, but the absorbing familial flashbacks give Bad Luck City extra resonance, and broaden the story’s scope.

UK crime fiction publisher Near To The Knuckle is very much on the ascendency, and this taut, sweaty little thriller represents a solid start to their planned ‘Knuckle-cracking Novellas’ series.

Aidan Thorn

When the guys behind the excellent Near to the Knuckle short fiction site announced that they were going to start publishing a series of novellas my ears pricked up. I've been a fan of the fiction they've published on that site for the past few years and they've also produced two excellent collections filled with top talent, Gloves Off and Rogue. The novella series was a logical next step, and their first toe in the water, Matt Philips' Bad Luck City, is exactly what I'd expect from Near to the Knuckle.

Matt Philips has created a great quick read. What impressed me most was the atmosphere of this book, told with the style and experience of a veteran of the noir game - the likes of Lawrence Block would be proud to have his name on the cover of this one. In this short and very readable book, Philips manages to draw characters that have depth and intrigue to keep the pages turning. The plot evolves nicely too, with interesting reveals as the story grows culminating in a dramatic conclusion. I read a lot of novellas these days, due to a lack of time, and this is up there with the best of them.

Bill Copeland

This is quite a book. The character development is complete and real as you can clearly see and understand who the key people are. The plot development is first rate and keeps you involved. I read the book in one sitting as it is a "page turner". I look forward to more work from this author.

I recommend it highly.

Christopher Davis

Bad Luck City is a quick, gritty, bad ass little story told in the modern day that takes place in Vegas. If you like hard hitting crime full of surprises, give Matt Phillips a try. A great story and great product from publisher Near to the Knuckle. Much like the others here, I look forward to more from this author.


Hard to put down...Sim may have been bored with his job but my goodness life certainly took an exciting. dangerous and sometimes painful turn. Great job, Matt Phillips!!!

Michael Wilson

Bad ass read! Couldn't put it down! Hits home! You should do anything for your family and friends... AWESOME!!

Dave Wilde

It's not unusual for a pulp fiction story to feature a young innocent in over his head and often on the run from the bad guys. In fact, it's kind of a staple of this literature. Sim Palmer isn't that young and a little too jaded and cynical to be innocent, particularly when he's popping pills and drinking his way from one bar to the next. To be honest, no one is all that innocent if they've been bouncing around Las Vegas for a while.

What really works for this story is that Palmer isn't a cop or a private eye. He's a reporter for a glossy weekly that exists for the purpose of repeating PR statements and selling ads. It's not the investigative reporting Palmer yearns for. And then one night he gets a real chance at a real story, one he's going to pursue even though he's entered a world of crime and viciousness he could scarcely have imagined.

Bad Luck City is novella-length and is a lot of fun to read. It's a trip through the tawdry side of Sin City really worth taking.

E. Hobart

Thoroughly enjoyed this fast paced hard boiled novella.