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By Matt Lennox

“KNUCKLEHEAD is small-town noir done right. Matt Lennox populates his fictional terrain with vital, finely-drawn characters who battle against circumstance and the suffocating nature of their hometown for a measure of hard-earned grace, nobility, and wisdom. The writing is dialed-down and powerful, the plot serpentine and often shocking—but most notable is the fiercely beating heart at the center of this book.”
-Craig Davidson, author of Cataract City (aka Nick Cutter, author of The Troop)

Lennox Knucklehead

Knucklehead is a character-driven, small-town noir novel in the vein of Winter’s Bone. Its narrator, Ash, is a bouncer living in a seedy small town in Ontario. He’s a body builder, he takes steroids, and takes great pains to project manliness, partly to compensate for the fact that his father was forced out of the closet when Ash was in high school and bore the brunt of the town’s bigotry. He learned to be tough and physically ruthless and sometimes a bit of a knucklehead, though far from stupid.

Ash’s great weakness is Chastity, his cousin, and the long-time girlfriend of Ash’s best friend Darren. The trio’s strained friendship is further complicated by the fact that Darren has become the town’s meth supply, occasionally calling on Ash’s muscle for intimidation purposes. Ash grows increasingly ill at ease with the role, but finds himself unable to refuse. Then, after a heated New Year’s Eve argument, Chastity goes missing, and a frantic Ash sees suspects everywhere—in the migrant farm workers from Mexico who drug up for productivity, in Darren’s shifty father recently returned to town, and in Darren himself.

Optioned by Darius Films

CBC The Next Chapter features KNUCKLEHEAD (at 43:30)

Globe and Mail review

Q&A with The Globe and Mail

Quill & Quire Review

Kitchener-Waterloo Record Review

Longlisted for Canada Reads 2017

“I had always dismissed the bouncers and the tough guys in the bars. Now I want to go back and study them. In the unforgettable Knucklehead, Matt Lennox reminds us that in our secret hearts we’re all filled with regret and longing. It’s a fast-paced, exotic yet familiar novel about violence, grace, youth and desire in small-town Canada. I didn’t want to leave.”
– Todd Babiak, author of Come Barbarians

 “Impressive…Knucklehead is a stirring character study masquerading as a mystery…While the mystery propels the central narrative of Knucklehead forward, and will absorb the reader, it serves, in many respects, as a pretext to the real meat of the story. Knucklehead serves as an exploration of contemporary manhood, both internalized and external…Knucklehead unfolds with a measured pace, deliberate, with a slowly encroaching sense of dread and desperation leading to a resolution which is both surprising and, in some ways, inevitable.”
– Globe and Mail

“[Lennox] shows a deft storyteller’s touch in the more noir-oriented scenes, especially in the build-up to the novel’s violent climax. He nails the telling details of the various tough-guy personae, quickly separating the hard cases from the wannabes. Which is to say that readers should pick up Knucklehead because it’s a fine read, not a sociological sermon on the struggles of the overlooked lower classes among us.”
– Quill & Quire 

“Coupled with a rhythm as cool as a John Coltrane solo, “Knucklehead” is an astonishing read…Overarching all is the authenticity of the voice…Ash’s inner dialogue and actions are pure tobacco, ginseng, migrants and blue. The final word on Lennox lies with lexicographer, H.W. Fowler, “Anyone who wishes to become a good writer should endeavour, before he allows himself to be tempted by the more showy qualities, to be direct, simple, brief, vigorous, and lucid. This is simply the best novel I have read since Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘The Remains of the Day’ (1989).”
-Kitchener-Waterloo Record 

“A stunning crime drama about the strength of family bonds, love, and the consequences of our decisions.”
– CBC Books


HarperCollins Canada, May 2015

Other Books by Matt Lennox