A Story Sadder Than All The Bruised Whores In Hollywood by Tony O’Neill — review by Mark McCawley

A Story Sadder Than All The Bruised Whores In Hollywood


by Tony O’Neill


review by Mark McCawley


Tony O'Neill SingleA Story Sadder Than All The Bruised Whores In Hollywood
by Tony O’Neill
Galley Beggar Press, 13pp, 7 June 2013
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
£1 UK, $ 3.04 CAN, $2.92 US
Fiction, Short Story

Among the new vanguard of contemporary urban post-realist writers, Tony O’Neill’s fiction is raw, honest, unpretentious, unsympathetic and completely unapologetic in it’s use of sex and violence. O’Neill explores and examines the underside of modern urban life with a dark, sardonic humour and a mordant insight only a past substance user and abuser can possess and convey with any amount of authenticity.

O’Neill does just that with the publication of ‘A Story Sadder Than All The Bruised Whores in Hollywood’, an eBook released by as part of independent publisher Galley Beggar’s Singles Club.

In this eBook, O’Neill describes a low rent world of cheap, skid row Hollywood hotels, drug dealers, pimps, and the junkies who frequent them:

So, Raphael. I watched him turn from a street dealer hustling outside a donut shop in ripped Keds and dirty jeans to a gold dripping capital ‘P’ pimp in the space of a year. As my fortunes declined, so his increased. Within weeks of him becoming my regular guy I lost the apartment. Then I had to take the car down to an auto-pawn place by skid row. They took my vehicle for 300 dollars and a pawn ticket I would never be able to redeem. In the space of the year I was living at the Mark Twain and having to take the subway downtown from Hollywood and Vine to score. Their only purpose of the Hollywood metro seemed to be to provide transportation for the junkies too poor or incompetent to operate a car. It was four stops from Hollywood and Vine to Westlake/Macarthur Park. I know because I counted them every single day.

In increments Raphael became a pimp. To start off with he had a girlfriend. A big, tall red-haired crack head girl started showing up with him on deliveries. Her skirts started getting shorter, his boots started getting more expensive and one day my dealer was a pimp also. Funny how life is.

Tori seemed like a nice enough girl. Not really pretty – one of her eyes was a little turned in and she had a goofy looking set of teeth – but she had the body I suppose. Big hips, big ass and big tits.

—Tony O’Neill, A Story Sadder Than All The Bruised Whores in Hollywood, p.10

What strikes me most about A Story Sadder Than All The Bruised Whores in Hollywood is how wonderfully O’Neill’s short story makes use of the eBook format’s overall versatility for stories which are more transgressive and experimental — that more mainstream and conservative publishers tend to shun. Indeed, a perfect format for those stories too often orphaned from a writer’s overall published works.

Order Tony O’Neill’s eBook here.

View other Galley Beggar Press titles here.

In a previous life Tony O’Neill played keyboards for bands and artists as diverse as Kenickie, Marc Almond and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. His autobiographical novel DIGGING THE VEIN was published in Feb 2006 by Contemporary Press, in the US and Canada. Wrecking Ball Press released a UK edition April 2007. SEIZURE WET DREAMS, a collection of short stories and poems was released in the UK on Social Disease, January 2006. A volume of poetry, SONGS FROM THE SHOOTING GALLERY was released on Burning Shore Press, Spring 2007. DOWN AND OUT ON MURDER MILE, his second novel, was released in October 2008 by Harper Perennial. He also is the co-author of HERO OF THE UNDERGROUND, the memoir of Jason Peter [2008, St Martins Press]. His latest book “NEON ANGEL” (cowritten with Cherie Currie) and his new novel, “SICK CITY” (both 2010). A new novel, BLACK NEON (sequel to Sick City) made it’s debut in translation with German language publishers, Walde & Graf, in September 2012. He lives in New York.

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