A brilliant and urgent debut collection by a young writer exploring the darkest corners of human experience. In steel-tipped prose, Craig Davidson conjures a savage world populated by fighting dogs, prizefighters, sex addicts, and gamblers. In his title story, Davidson introduces an afflicted boxer whose hand never properly heals after a bone is broken. The fighter's career descends to bouts that have less to do with sport than with survival: no referee, no rules, not even gloves. In "A Mean Utility" we enter an even more desperate arena: dogfights where Rottweilers, pit bulls, and Dobermans fight each other to the death. Davidson's stories are small monuments to the telling detail. The hostility of his fictional universe is tempered by the humanity he invests in his characters and by his subtle and very moving observations of their motivations. He shares with Chuck Palahniuk the uncanny ability to compel our attention, time and time again, to the most difficult subject matter.