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This is a wild and crazy first novel, crowded with weird people, unusual relationships (both animal and human), and frequent humor that will appeal to fans of Carl Hiaasen, Tim Dorsey, and other comic mystery writers.
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Blanco County, Texas: It's the week before deer hunting season, as close to a statewide holiday as you get in Texas, and the locals are getting restless. Game Warden John Marlin has his hands full with poaching complaints coming in faster than he can write out-of-season tickets. Then a call of a different sort comes in. A man dressed up in some sort of deer costume has been shot at the Circle S ranch, and witnesses are reporting a massive wild-eyed buck prancing about the pasture in a lovesick frenzy. Marlin's seen a lot in his years, but this is wilder than he could have imagined: the man in the deer suit is a good friend, and the whacked-out whitetail isn't exactly a stranger either. It's the beginning of a mad, frantic weekend in Blanco County, one that will see a few more men shot, an invasion by Colombians with more than hunting on their minds, and damn near the end of Marlin's life. Ben Rehder serves it all up with a huge helping of humor in this debut comic mystery that will firmly establish him as the funniest crime writer in Texas.
One Reviewer Notes:
It's not easy to be consistently absurd for an entire book. This debut novel is a complete success, tearing out of Texas chock-full of characters so nutty and events so strange it seems as if they must be real. Game warden John Marlin has been best friends with Phil Colby since grade school. Marlin essentially grew up on the vast spread of the Colby ranch, and he was nearly as crushed as Colby when the ranch was lost. The new owner, Roy Swank, is as greedy and unscrupulous a man as Texas can produce-and everyone knows Texas does things in a big way. Swank can be petty, too: he insisted Colby leave his tame deer, aptly named Buck, pointing out that native whitetails belong to the state. Swank has set up a profitable deer farm, and hunting season is right around the corner. He's got a big opening day planned, complete with rich and famous guests. Marlin, meanwhile, comes across some white powder that spilled from a poached deer-one that belongs to Swank. There's also a wildlife biologist dressed up as a doe, a doe dressed in stiletto heels and a garter belt, as well as some frequently drunk good ol' boys named Red and Billy Don. Rehder gives Marlin a little time to talk about hunting, to explain that it doesn't have to be merely a killing spree. Although his observations seem somewhat forced, it's probably a worthwhile interjection. The writing here is confident and vigorous; the tone is quintessentially Texan and relentlessly wry. There's sure to be a long career for this happy, wacky series.
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