MFA English Program

University of Mississippi

Shut Up, Ugly

by Jack Pendarvis

On the heels of Phillip Marlowe and Mike Hammer comes Jack Pendarvis’ gumshoe Burns. Or…not. At first glance, Shut Up, Ugly has all the ingredients for a hardboiled hit: A gun in the back. A sock to the jaw. A threatening dwarf. A sinister millionaire. A simple tail job that takes a wrong turn. Dames, dames, and more dames. All this case needs is a great detective. Unfortunately, Burns isn’t it. He’s bad with details, prone to navel-gazing, incurious, and a little slow. But to be fair, Burns isn’t even a detective, just a would-be philanderer mistaken for a private eye when he ducks in the wrong doorway while eluding an angry husband. What Burns needs is a new identity, at least temporarily. But when he pretends to be the tough private dick everyone thinks he is, Burns isn’t counting on the kind of adventure that just might change his life forever. Or not.