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Don't Know Tough
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About the Author

Eli Cranor played quarterback at every level- peewee to professional, and then coached high school football for five years. These days, he's traded in the pigskin for a laptop, writing from Arkansas where he lives with his wife and kids. His fiction has won The Greensboro Review's Robert Watson Literary Prize and been a runner-up for The Missouri Review's Miller Prize. Eli also writes a nationally syndicated sports column, "Athletic Support," and his craft column, "Shop Talk," appears monthly over at CrimeReads. His debut novel, Don't Know Tough, won the Peter Lovesey First Crime Novel Contest. Eli is currently at work on his next novel.

Reviews

Praise for Don't Know Tough

"Imagine a noir Friday Night Lights written by a cross between Megan Abbott and Harry Crews, and you'll get close to what Eli Cranor's pulled off in Don't Know Tough. It's propulsive, twisty, and unputdownable. Cranor cracks open the complex world of high school football in small town Arkansas, giving us characters who are at once savage and tender and tragic, who are capable of acts of great bravery and betrayal. This is a book that shocks us into a new way of seeing. It's lean, muscled up, no-holds-barred noir. I feel lucky to have read it."
-William Boyle, author of Gravesend, The Lonely Witness, A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself, and City of Margins

"
Don't Know Tough
really packs a punch. I enjoyed reading between the lines, dreading the trouble Billy was bringing on himself and his fragile life-chances. At the heart of the book is the pull of loyalties-the football team, the family and religion. The characters involved in all the stresses and strains are well drawn and convincing. It's tough reading, but the humanity shines through."
-Peter Lovesey, author of the Peter Diamond mysteries, in his adjudication of the Peter Lovesey First Crime Novel Contest

"Eli Cranor knows the underbelly of Friday night lights in this stunning debut that bleeds authenticity and raw emotion. This young author is a new voice of the South to watch."
-Ace Atkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Fallen and The Sinners

"
Don't Know Tough
is a searing and stunningly poignant study in what makes us and what breaks us and ultimately what brings us to a place of peace. Eli Cranor is that rare writer who can make you gasp, cry and cheer often in the same paragraph."
-S.A. Cosby, New York Times best selling author of Razorblade Tears and Blacktop Wasteland

"
Don't Know Tough
is a gripping novel about rage and trauma, redemption and damnation, football and family and brutality in close quarters. Cranor's characters bristle with desperation and frustrated masculinity, a volatile cauldron of emotion that brings tension to every page."
-Steph Cha, author of Your House Will Pay

"I loved this book. Cranor blends noir and football masterfully, with the deft touch of Megan Abbott and the hardboiled punch of Ace Atkins. This is the sports crime novel I've been desperate to read, and I'm now unable to shake from my mind. Eli Cranor's debut crackles with voice and power. Don't miss this one."
-Alex Segura, award-winning author of Secret Identity, Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall
, and Miami Midnight

"Eli Cranor rockets to the top of the writer-to-watch lists with this debut. Gritty, emotional writing and a deep knowledge of the pain and pride that play out beneath Friday night lights make Don't Know Tough a gripping, memorable read. I can't wait to see what Cranor does next."
-Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of Never Far Away

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