Sunday, January 20, 2019

"Bhut Jolokia" by Rob Hart

Medium Short, March 18, 2016

Though this story is available online, I read it in print as part of Take-Out and Other Tales of Culinary Crime, Rob Hart's just-published collection from Polis Books, because the intersection of food and crime fiction has intrigued me since the first Spenser book I read in 1993.

Many of Hart's stories bridge the distance between protagonist and reader with techniques such as present-tense prose. "Bhut Jolokia" combines present tense prose and second person voice, as if the reader is the protagonist being addressed. I found it eerily effective, Hart implicating "you" directly in a peppery plot against egregious office lunch thief Scott Olson.

Hearing Rob read at a Noir at the Bar event in Manhattan moved me to buy his first novel, New Yorked. Don't be surprised if "Bhut Jolokia" makes you hungry for Take-Out.

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