Old School is a collection of fourteen short stories.

Why Old School? Bette Davis famously noted that “Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” In these stories the protagonists may not all be old, but ain’t none of them young anymore. They’re past the solipsism of youth, that grandiose narcissism that lets the young imagine the world as a stage devoted to their glories. Every character in Old School knows that life isn’t a stage, it’s a ring. And you’d better learn to take a punch, because life is the undefeated heavyweight champion of the world. You might land a shot here and there, but you are gonna get your ass beat and, in the end, you’re going down for the count. Life is however-many-billions and 0, and each of us is just one more digit on the wrong end of that equation.


“Sometimes O’Shea writes with this savage and wild masculine abandon – guns and broken fucking bones and toothbrushes jammed into the backs of skulls and a muscular but jaded outlook on the vagaries of mankind and the cruelty of fate. And other times, he writes with such poise, such perfect emotional rapport that you feel a horror of intimacy – he makes monstrous criminals human and understandable and the average everyday schmucks seem like demons in human skin. He can swing from erudite to profane, from the sublime to the perverted, like it ain’t no thing. I’ve read thousands of books, no one writes like Dan O’Shea. He’s a major fucking talent. The world will know.” – John Hornor Jacobs, author of SOUTHERN GODS and THIS DARK EARTH

“Dan O’Shea is a master of characters filled with grit and fascinating depth. Old School grabs you by the gut with the first story and roars to the end. I couldn’t stop turning that pages and I’ll never think of Girl Scout cookies in the same way ever again.” – Joelle Charbonneau, author of SKATING AROUND THE LAW, SKATING OVER THE LINE and MURDER FOR CHOIR

“Dan O’Shea’s writing hits hard. The characters in OLD SCHOOL are mad, bad, and dangerous to know. But they are also filled with genuine longing, desperation, and sorrow, making them resonate off the page. No matter how far they’ve fallen, there’s always something more to lose.” – Hilary Davidson, author of THE DAMAGE DONE and THE NEXT ONE TO FALL

“Whip smart and razor sharp – these stories are fast, mean, and true to the very bone. Dan O’Shea can write.” – Lou Berney, author of GUTSHOT STRAIGHT

“Dan O’Shea infuses his writing with a grounded humanity that gives OLD SCHOOL a serious punch. Tales of men and women from the far side of life, with too many years and too many miles on them. These are powerful stories of doing the right things for the wrong reasons, of sacrifice and desperate measures. From the short, quick jab of ABSALOM to the slow and sad SHACKLETON’S HOOCH, these are stories you’re not going to forget.” – Stephen Blackmoore, author of CITY OF THE LOST

“O’Shea is my kind of writer; hard and honest, fast and funny. Old School is full of elders who demand your respect, at the point of a shotgun. The characters talk like real people, and make decisions like desperate people; meth heads, killers, drug dealers and gigolo’s, this books got it all. After reading this, I’ll always think twice before trying to knock over a Girl Scout.” – Jay Stringer, author of OLD GOLD, coming in 2012 from Thomas & Mercer

The stories in OLD SCHOOL ain’t the kind to feature sexy, badass twentysomethings, who — for all their bitching — could fit their worries and belongings both into a backpack and still leave room for a sixer of PBR. OLD SCHOOL is full of folks with jobs, with debt, with families, with regret; folks with shit to lose, and heights from which to fall. That makes them real. That makes them desperate. OLD SCHOOL is tough and funny and honest and brutal — and on occasion, all at once. In short, it’s not to be missed.” – Chris F. Holm, author of DEAD HARVEST and 8 POUNDS

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