Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Vacation Reading!

Ranchero by Rick Gavin was a hoot.

A little short on plot, but I barely noticed cause the writing is so good and the characters are beyond memorable.

Here's an example of a total throw away character, a dog who appears exactly once in the book:

The neighbor off the back has some kind of short-haired dog with three legs and one eye and a sour disposition.  He looked like a veteran of the Great War.  I know him a little. His name was Rusty.  I'd made his acquaintance a few months back when he'd spent about thirty-six straight hours barking at a stump.  I think Rusty's remaining eye was clouded with cataracts, and just generally Rusty had lost all interest in caring what was what.

The main character Nick Reid is a repo man. He's hunting the ne'er do well who got the drop on him and made off with his borrowed coral colored Ranchero.

Here's what happens at one critical juncture:

Weary now, I raised the shotgun barrel toward the ceiling, more or less aimed it at an orange and black MOWING AHEAD sign, and squeezed off a shell without really thinking just what I was up to.

[I should mention here that the MOWING AHEAD sign is on the ceiling, not on the street.]

Lead pellets would have punched on through, and we'd have been left with just some instructive racket, but the little rubber balls I was shooting stayed in the house and went everywhere fast.  They hit that sign and came back down, bounced all over the place. They filled that room just like a swarm of hornets.

Those pellets hurt so much through my clothes I was doubly glad I wasn't standing around naked. Tommy [who was standing around naked] for his part, balled up on the couch and ducked under his filthy blanket while Eugene [also naked] couldn't think of a thing to do but wail and leap and dance.

"What the hell did you do that for?" Luther wanted to know.

"Crazy son-of-a-bitch," Percy Dwayne added.

Tommy came out from under his blanket to add a few choice words as well. Eugene just whined and flopped around on the floor.

Like most rash things I get up to, that one hadn't been helpful.

Even Desmond, after a great while, told me, "Let's don't be doing that again."

This book conveys place (the Mississippi Delta) so beautifully that I felt like I lived there. The rhythm of the prose is gorgeous, nary a misstep.

It's funny without being comic or over the top, and gorgeously written without standing around admiring itself in the mirror.

I loved it.  You might too.


Kitty said...

I checked it out on Amazon in order to read the first page, and he hooked me in the 3rd sentence: He eased up behind me--I heard the joists complain....

Anonymous said...

I love just about any book set in the south...but especially one in Mississippi - the state I call my second home. Even the little snippets you provided manage to convey the voice.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

I did what Kitty did, regarding the kitchen floor, "I think I'll stretch out here." Love it. You sure can pick-em Janet.

Off topic and back to YOUR WIP. You like painting your walls so much that I should submit my SF novel, it has everything to do with painting walls, getting lost and trying to find a way back.
Of wait, you don't handle SF and the book is in progress. Back to stretching out on the kitchen floor.

Anastasia Stratu said...

Added to "1,000,000 books to read before I die" list.

List growing alarmingly fast.

List owner feeling more and more like the protagonist of that joke about the creative writing college admission commission interviewing a candidate. When asked about favorite books and authors, the candidate says: "None. Joe is not a reader. Joe is a writer."

General sentiment of self-addressed peevishness explainable by circumstances entailing a dulled sense of comedy and ignoble pilfering from folklore.

Generally inane tone hereof justifiable by severe sleep deprivation.

Decision to post this comment anyway triggered by general inability to shut up.

Amy Schaefer said...

My husband just got a kindle gift certificate for his birthday... so if I buy this, I can count it as a present for him, right? Right.

Ardenwolfe said...

Am I the only one who finds it telling that Janet, a literary agent who reads for a living more or less, reads for fun while on vacation?

Man, that's dedication. ;)