Friday, March 18, 2016

FFB: Dog Eat Dog by Edward Bunker

In Edward Bunker’s 1996 crime novel, Dog Eat Dog, three career criminals approaching middle age set out to score big money by ripping off drug dealers and other bad guys who, while dangerous, cannot report the thefts to the cops.

Troy, Diesel and Mad Dog have given names, but those are the names they go by and are known by in their world of violent criminals. They met years earlier in reform school and became wary friends. The three of them have been in and out of California institutions, jails and prisons most of their lives. Now, Troy, the latest to be released back into society, plans to get his hands on a lot of money, enough to disappear and never commit a crime again. To do this, he needs Diesel and Mad Dog as partners.

Diesel, with a wife, a child and a house in the suburbs, has begun to live in both the world of crime and the straight world. A big man, he earns by being the muscle for a local mob guy, dishing out beatings and destroying property. But Diesel has qualms about getting involved in Troy’s plans. His biggest concern is the third man on the team.

Mad Dog is a wiry killer with no conscience and a severe drug problem, but he will do anything Troy tells him to do.

While the book rambles a bit at the beginning, setting up the situation, the sense of authenticity is on every page and Bunker knows what is authentic. The author spent time in reform schools and state prisons. While incarcerated he began reading, and then writing. Bunker knows the criminal world, he knows how it works, he knows how it sounds, and he knows how men like Troy, Diesel and Mad Dog think. Once he gets those three together the story quickly gets down to business and reads like a great thriller.

(I would like to thank Col of Col’s Criminal Library for pointing the way to this book.)

(And for more reviews of books, please see Patti Abbott’s blog.)


  1. Sounds to be a little too dark for me.

    1. It is one tough story, Rick. Thanks for checking it out.

  2. Glad you enjoyed it Elgin and thanks for the mention!

    1. You are welcome, Col. I have several of your book recommendations on my TBR stack.