Boot Tracks is a commanding tale of a man and a woman struggling against a destiny they cannot control, told in Matthew F. Jones’ characteristically taut, economic style. An assassination gone terribly wrong; a couple searching for one last chance to find a safe place in a hostile world. With these elements Matthew F. Jones weaves a harrowing tale of suspense, violence and compassion.
Charlie Rankin has recently been released from prison, but prison has not released its grip on him. He owes his life to “The Buddha,” who has given him a job to do on the outside: he must kill a man, a man who has done him no harm, a man he has never met. Along the road to this brutal encounter, Rankin meets Florence, who may be an angel in disguise or simply a lonely ex porn star seeking salvation. Together they careen towards their fate, taking the reader along for the ride.
“Man did I love this book. And not to get all meta, but it’s hard to write a review of a book you really loved. Superlatives have been sapped of their meaning by overzealous critics, and somehow it sounds fake to say that a book is one of the “best things” you’ve “read all year.” It’s just that, sometimes (as in the case of Matthew F. Jones’s “Boot Tracks“) that happens to be true. I haven’t read something that made me empathize with a bad guy this intensely since I read “In Cold Blood” in high school.”
— Katy Haegele, The Philadelphia Inquirer
“More than just a very good crime thriller, this dark but illuminating novel shows us the psychopathology of the criminal mind. Brilliantly chilling in its step-by-step examination of the mechanics of committing a criminal act – the novel’s true terror is an interior one: an extreme close-up vision of the drive toward homicide. A nightmare thriller with the power to haunt.
— Kirkus Reviews *Starred Review
“Boot Tracks” is a strange but artful novel enlivened by some of the best low-life dialogue this side of Elmore Leonard….and Jones, who has written other well-regarded novels, is a writer worth meeting.”
— The Washington Post
“Boot Tracks” has the grace of a Japanese Noh poem and the violence of two lives burning out in front of our eyes.”
— Chicago Tribune
“The ex-con just out of prison with one last job to do is a familiar noir premise, and Jones does it proud in this powerful tale. The sense of horrible inevitability is almost overpowering here, but Jones has us following Rankin’s Boot Tracks anyway. If only Jean-Pierre Melville (Bob le Flambeur) were still alive to make the movie version.”
“For those who like their noir fiction dark, gritty and intense, the stunning crime novel, Boot Tracks by Matthew F. Jones is a gripping page turner. The terse prose of this remarkably visual novel is permeated with sensory immediacy. One can almost smell the stale sweat and the cheap musty perfume rising from the unwashed bodies of the author’s unpleasant, alienated and often-grotesque characters. This is a tight, tense read, and one you won’t soon forget.”
— Mostly Fiction Book Reviews
“Jones is a rare stylist – much of his previous work, including the devastating novel A Single Shot, ponders these dark realms of the human condition, and readers looking for an intense, affecting experience shouldn’t miss this one.”
— Pages Magazine