One October night in the depressed steel town of Lodi, Ohio, two police officers respond to a call about trespassers in the derelict Lodi Steel mill. A chase through the crumbling cathedral of steel columns launches a chain of events that will test the officers’ partnership and leave a boy to fend for himself in a hardscrabble Rust Belt neighborhood choked by joblessness, boredom, and addiction.
On the opposite side of town, a young woman steps out of a rust-bucket Grand Marquis into an all-night diner. Instead of luggage, she carries mementos: a tattoo she inked herself and a wallet-sized photograph of a boy who disappeared. She doesn’t realize her ex-boyfriend has hired two brothers to track her down and bring her back, by any means necessary.
The complex female leads of Hungry Town, with its sharp dialogue and poetic sensibility, turn classic noir and cop drama tropes on their heads. These morally complicated characters weave in and out of each other’s lives, sometimes violently, sometimes with surprising compassion.
“Taut and powerful . . . . With the grit of a western and the crackle of a murder mystery, this finely wrought effort delivers the goods.”
“A literary flair lifts this above the routine procedural.”
“Hungry Town gives as much weight to its characters as it does to its bleak plot, and these flawed people, dealt a losing hand, will not soon be forgotten.”
―Akron Beacon Journal
“Really, really good. Populated by sympathetic characters that you come to care about, an engrossing and complex tale with seemingly separate story strands that during the course of the book intersect and connect and entwine, under the skill of a very talented author.”
―Col's Criminal Library
“A literary page-turner that lends poetry to the forgotten town at the heart of this powerful novel, filled to its borders with complicated, honest characters who will linger in your imagination long after the last page. Part Cormac McCarthy, part Tom Drury and Raymond Chandler, Kapcala has created a voice all his own that captures his story and its setting perfectly."
―Brian Castleberry, author of Nine Shiny Objects
“A fun read, firmly fixed in the detective/crime novel genre but with a nice literary eye for details.”
―Mesha Maren, author of Sugar Run
Hear me read at the Lit Youngstown 2023 Fall Literary Festival at Youngstown State University (10/21/23)
Hear me read from Hungry Town at "Modern Homestead" in Reedsville, WV (4/20/23)
Hear me read from Hungry Town at "Lunch with Books" in Wheeling, WV (7/19/22)
Hear me read from Hungry Town at FestivALL in Charleston, WV (6/19/22)
“For fans of American Rust by Philipp Meyer and Ohio by Stephen Markley . . . comes Jason Kapcala’s Hungry Town, a Rust Belt-set crime drama with serious literary chops―”
“―ghost stories of mill workers searching for severed hands, tales of people engulfed by boiler explosions. In Lodi, everyone had a story to tell about the mill.”
“―so as morning drew near, Stefanie Rieux lay awake in their bedroom on Hideaway Hill, thinking about her partner and three kids she'd only just met―two living, one dead.”
"Rieux & MULQUEEN"
A THEME BY THE AUTHOR
"Every Night's A Birthday"
A Palliative BY THE AUTHOR
What had they always said as beat cops? Every night's a birthday in Lodi. Well, happy birthday to me, Mulqueen thought . . .
"In Search of Tone? Make a Playlist"
craft Ephemera by THE AUTHOR
These tremendous tracks jumpstarted my creativity during the writing process and helped me to write my way into the minds of the characters, most of whom are voiceless outsiders trapped by circumstance, poverty, and addiction. Listening to these songs made it easier for me to bring that unforgiving steel town to life.