Don't Know Tough

Eli Cranor

ISBN: 9781641293457

Published: March 2022

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Hardcover $24.95

eBook $14.99

Eli Cranor

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Description

Fright Night Lights meets Southern Gothic, this thrilling debut is for readers of Megan Abbott and Wiley Cash.

Trent Powers relocates his family from Anaheim to Arkansas to take over as head coach of the Denton Pirates, a high school football team powered by a volatile but talented running back named Billy Lowe. Bil...

Fright Night Lights meets Southern Gothic, this thrilling debut is for readers of Megan Abbott and Wiley Cash.

Trent Powers relocates his family from Anaheim to Arkansas to take over as head coach of the Denton Pirates, a high school football team powered by a volatile but talented running back named Billy Lowe. Billy comes from an extremely troubled home: a trailer park where he is terrorized by his unstable mother’s abusive boyfriend. Billy takes out his anger on the field, and it’s not long before he crosses a line. Instead of punishing him, though, Trent takes Billy into his home, hoping to protect his star player as the Pirates begin their playoff run. But when Billy’s abuser is found murdered, nothing can stop an explosive chain of violence that could tear the town apart.

WINNER OF THE PETER LOVESEY FIRST CRIME NOVEL CONTEST

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“Imagine a noir Friday Night Lights written by a cross between Megan Abbott and Harry Crews, and you'll get close to what Eli Cranor's pulled off in Don't Know Tough. It's propulsive, twisty, and unputdownable. Cranor cracks open the complex world of high school football in small town Arkansas, giving us characters who are at once savage and tender and tragic, who are capable of acts of great bravery and betrayal. This is a book that shocks us into a new way of seeing. It's lean, muscled up, no-holds-barred noir. I feel lucky to have read it.”
—William Boyle, author of Gravesend, The Lonely Witness, A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself, and City of Margins
Don't Know Tough really packs a punch. I enjoyed reading between the lines, dreading the trouble Billy was bringing on himself and his fragile life-chances. At the heart of the book is the pull of loyalties—the football team, the family and religion. The characters involved in all the stresses and strains are well drawn and convincing. It’s tough reading, but the humanity shines through.”
—Peter Lovesey, author of the Peter Diamond mysteries, in his adjudication of the Peter Lovesey First Crime Novel Contest
“Eli Cranor knows the underbelly of Friday night lights in this stunning debut that bleeds authenticity and raw emotion.”
—Ace Atkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Fallen and The Sinners
“I loved this book. Cranor blends noir and football masterfully, with the deft touch of Megan Abbott and the hardboiled punch of Ace Atkins. This is the sports crime novel I’ve been desperate to read, and I’m now unable to shake from my mind. Eli Cranor’s debut crackles with voice and power. Don’t miss this one.”
—Alex Segura, award-winning author of Secret Identity, Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall, and Miami Midnight