SLOWER BEAR by Anthony Neil Smith - a review
Updated: Nov 21, 2022
Micah “Slow Bear” Cross returns in another breathless slice of pitch-perfect pulp from noir legend Anthony Neil Smith.
After successfully faking his own death, we catch up with Micah “Slow Bear” Cross standing in a field in Nebraska with his boot on the neck of a Ukranian human trafficker.
So far, so Slow Bear.
After handing out some of his trademark summary justice, Micah finds himself the temporary custodian of two very young, and very scared victims of trafficking.
Along with his latest one-night stand Abeline, Slow Bear and the girls launch themselves into a desperate fight for survival as they do all they can to escape the clutches of the ruthless trafficking gang who are out for revenge and restitution.
What follows will absolutely delight fans of Anthony Neil Smith and pulp-noir lovers everywhere...
Micah "Slow Bear" Cross dug his boot heel into the man's jaw, this piece of shit named Gerardo. Slow Bear had hunted him for the last week across Nebraska. He was the whitest Gerardo Slow Bear had ever seen, his last name Prochenko. That's right. Slow Bear had spent a week in cow-country chasing a Ukranian sex-trafficker named after a one-hit wonder.
Slower Bear is the sequel to Slow Bear - Smith’s first outing with the eponymous Micah Cross. I wasn’t alone in eulogising about Slow Bear. Slow Bear is brilliant. It is gritty. It is bloody. It is bleak and it is brutal. Slower Bear is all these - and then some. The action in Slower Bear is relentless. And as already mentioned, brutal. And the dialogue, the dialogue is some of the best I have ever read.
Micah “Slow Bear” Cross is an ex-Reservation cop with one arm. In Slow Bear he is a one man hellhound on the trail of a gang of sex-traffickers who’ve abducted his friend. In Slower Bear he’s determined to protect two young girls on the sex-trafficker's delivery schedule from going the same way. Micah knows how to handle himself - despite his disability. That’s not to say he doesn’t come off on the wrong end at times. He does. But it takes a lot to stop Micah Cross. Even the love of a good woman - in this case, Abeline. That's if there is such a thing as love in the world of Micah Cross. And I think there is. But it is a dark place. And although Slow Bear is a truly brilliant book, this is why I believe Slower Bear is even better.
You see, Micah Cross does all he does, not for money or for some cold motive of justice. Micah Cross does all he does, for love. Except, he doesn’t know that. The relationship Smith crafts between Micah and Abeline, and especially Micah and the girls, is so incredibly touching. Yet you get the feeling Micah is doing all he can to keep it at arms length - or arm length, should we say. Love is a feeling lost deep in the dark of Micah Cross’s soul - and I would love Smith to write about how this hero of his became this way.
Smith is at the very top of the Noir tree, as far as I’m concerned.
And these two Micah Cross books deserve to be household names in the genre.
Both Slow Bear and Slower Bear are available from Fahrenheit Press in all formats here:
For a taste, read my review of Slow Bear here: