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James gets a job delivering organs for transplant, but needs to make a little detour first. Lenny’s appreciation for the comedy of Steve Martin gets him out of a tight jam. Tommy has some secrets buried in the back yard, and they don’t seem to want to stay there. Rick’s reunion with an old college roommate ends in gunplay.

In these stories John Kenyon looks at the people who are usually content to hide under rocks. But when you pull the rock away for a look, that’s when the trouble begins. You won’t find buckets of blood here, nor twisted hillbillies with arsenals that would give a militiaman pause. No, what we have here is more dangerous, more sinister: stories filled with the kind of people we encounter every day. They live check to check and the last one came two weeks ago. They’ve been under the thumb of the man for a long time, and just decided they’ve had enough. They seek redemption when the world isn’t ready to provide it.

THE FIRST CUT is available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


“THE FIRST CUT is one hell of a collection, chock full of heart, brains, and guts — sometimes literally. Whether he’s portraying hardened criminals or fragile marriages, John Kenyon’s hand is deft, and his ear is true. He knows the tropes, and delights in turning them on their heads. Pick a story, any story. You think you know where it’s going? Then he’s got you right where he wants you. In this stunning debut, Kenyon proves THE FIRST CUT is, in fact, the deepest.” — Chris F. Holm, author of Dead Harvest

“John Kenyon’s stories are noir writ large with a wondrous skewed humour. The kind of stories I’d love to use as chapter headings for me next three books. I knew I was in biz, these stories sing, soar and entrance like the best of HBO darkness and humour. This is the real deal Black brilliance so fluid it seems easy.” — Ken Bruen


John Kenyon is executive director of the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization. He edits Grift crime fiction magazine (, edited the ebook collection Grimm Tales and has published stories with Beat to a Pulp, Needle, Pulp Modern, Shotgun Honey and elsewhere.

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