Trouble In The Heartland

the project the contributors about us  

book cover

Edited by
Joe Clifford

Bruce Springsteen's music has inspired many writers to find their own darkness on the edge of town. This anthology collects over forty tales of desperate hopes, unfulfilled dreams, lost loves, and hungry hearts.

Bringing together one of the finest collections of crime fiction writers from around the world, Trouble In The Heartland features stories by Dennis Lehane, James Grady, Hilary Davidson, and more.

A portion of net proceeds of this project benefit the

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Zelmer Pulp, a group of fearless, genre-bending writers, and Gutter Books, renowned publisher in the noir/crime field, have taken an all-star roster of forty established and up-and-coming authors and entrusted them with one simple mission: use a Springsteen song title to craft a piece of kick-ass pulp fiction. And the results are staggering, running the gamut from gritty, shoot ’em out hardboiled capers, to the perils of isolation in the cold vacuum of space. Each story is a touching portrait on the plight of the downtrodden, in the rich tradition of the Boss himself.

Bruce Springsteen’s music has always spoken to the heart, conveying the trials of marginalized, the put-upon, the losers who need just that one lucky break to turn it all around. Which so rarely comes. Ask anyone to name a favorite Springsteen song, and your answer will be as varied as his storied career. Bruce Springsteen is a storyteller, first and foremost, his lyrical acumen a cut above the rest. His empathy and understanding toward the wide-eye dreamers and ne’er-do-wells has garnered him a legion of devoted fans from around the world. And the pairing with crime fiction is a natural one. In each case, the writer understands the crushing weight of wanting more, and the burden of insufficient tools to make those dreams come true. We were amazed at the overwhelming desire to participate in this project.

Anchoring the collection is New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane and James (Six Days of the Condor) Grady. Trouble in the Heartland will be available in both print and eBook format in September, 2014.

Zelmer Pulp was formed in 2012 by authors Brian Panowich and Ryan Sayles. Their vision of fearless, pulp-style storytelling has led to several collections of genre-based fiction. Gutter Books is the publishing wing of Out of the Gutter, a pillar in the noir fiction community. Chris Leek, a member of Zelmer Pulp and Gutter Books editor Joe Clifford—both dedicated fans of Springsteen—conceived the collection as the ultimate way to thank the Boss for what his music has meant to their lives, both personally and professionally.




Dennis Lehane - State Trooper

Jordan Harper - Prove It All Night

Chris Leek - Candy's Room

Hillary Davidson - Hungry Heart

James R. Tuck - I'm On Fire

Lynne Barrett - Dancing In The Dark

James Grady - Thunder Road

Dyer Wilk - Dry Lightning

Tom Pitts - Local Hero

C S DeWildt - Glory Days

Chuck Wendig - Queen of the Supermarket

Mike Creeden - Something in the Night

Rob Pierce - Rosalita

David James Keaton - The Ghost of Jim Toad

Peter Farris - What Love Can Do

Chris F. Holm - Mansion on the Hill

Ryan Sayles - Highway Patrolman

Brian Panowich - Wreck on the Highway

Matthew Lewis - My Hometown

Christopher Irvin - Death to my Hometown

Paul J. Garth - Nebraska

Les Edgerton - The Iceman

Todd Robinson - We Take Care of Our Own

Keith Rawson - My Best Was Never Good Enough

Isaac Kirkman - Streets of Fire

John McFetridge - Spare Parts

Ezra Letra - Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?

Jen Conley - It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City

Benoit Lelievre - Atlantic City

Richard Thomas - Because the Night

Lela Scott MacNeil - Darkness on the Edge of Town

Chuck Regan - Radio Nowhere

Court Merrigan - The Promised Land

Eric Beetner - Open All Night

Steve Weddle - Meeting Across The River

Chris Rhatigan - Wrecking Ball

Lincoln Crisler - Born to Run

Gareth Spark - Straight Time

Jamez Chang - This Little Light of Mine

Richard Brewer - Last to Die