Bust is a 56-page novelette by Ash Brunner. The story will be of interest to people who love fighting to near-death because they think that supreme honor resides in winning. The writing detailing the several fights between two opponents, Adam and Hughie, is good, descriptive, and free of annoying errors that would result from poor editing. For that reason alone, I give this novelette two Amazon stars. It is available on Amazon for USD 0.99. It is not available on Kindle Unlimited. It shows up on various giveaway sites as a free teaser. I have no interest in reading further works by this author.
Adam is a rugby player, one destined for greatness as a part of a national team. He also loves to drink and never backs away from a fight. Hughie is a well-developed weightlifter, a veteran of many struggles, likes to drink, and never backs down. Although neither of these characters intend to fight to the death, if it happens, it happens.
There is a predictable bar fight where both characters must drag themselves home, nurse their wounds, and plan for a rematch since each thought they had won, but that is not a resolution. The plot follows a formula of A fights B, then B fights A, then A fights B and this goes on until the writer decides to end it. This give-and-take might be called a plot.
Adam has three friends who want to see him victorious but try to figure out how he can do it with minimal violence. He has a career to think about and a pregnant wife who might give birth at any time. Hughie also has three friends who want him to prevail ultimately. Their support is not necessary because Hughie doesn’t believe in losing. His internal furies are the only drive required. The six supporting friends do not have to be mentioned. Character development stops at the spelling of their names.
The reason for the existence of Adam and Hughie, and this story rests on two stated philosophical observations. 1) “The strongest and the fittest survive and if you’re not ready, well, that’s too bad for you.” (Kindle Location 45). 2) “Comparing his own physical attributes to that of another in the form of engagement was what defined you as a man.” (Kindle location 171-172). There are two characters, feel free to assign either observation to either character.
Let the fight begin if that is what you like to read. I do not recommend this for anyone without an interest in slugfests. However, there is no depth to the story, so feel free to jump in without fear of drowning.