A sham pastor hires a cocaine-sniffing centaur to act as mascot for an Evangelical mega-church’s arena football team; Paul Revere flashes across a revolutionary sky on the back of a sunbird; an ammo-less infantry drummer and a bleeding medic are beat back to a Best Western parking lot in the Battle of Sacramento—such are the situations contained in Ryan Ridge’s Hunters & Gamblers. Winners of the negative lottery, these characters have learned to love to lose everything until there’s nothing left to lose. And the end is desperate, black, drenched in whiskey, but punctuated by poignancy and revelry and revelation. The tales in this lurid, edgy debut illuminate blackness with even blacker humor and a sense of outlandish beauty.
“Ryan Ridge’s stories are lacerating cuts that expose the gray matter and turbulence of a nation. Ridge’s inventiveness is unlimited, a panoptical lens that lets us see what is part myth and part video and part tazered dream.” —Bruce Smith, author of Devotions
“Reading Ryan Ridge’s wild wheel of stories, large and small, is like crossing the street in London: You look one way but the surprise is coming from the other. This is a terrific debut of a welcome new talent." —Ron Carlson, author of Five Skies
ABOUT RYAN RIDGE
Ryan Ridge is the author of the story collection Hunters & Gamblers (Dark Sky), the poetry collection Ox (BatCat Press), the chapbook Hey, It’s America (Rust Belt Bindery), and the forthcoming novella American Homes (Mud Luscious). He lives in southern California. Visit him online @ www.ryanridge.com.