Last Buckaroo

Mackey Hedges, Author
Mackey Hedges, Author Gibbs Smith Publishers $22.95 (338p) ISBN 978-0-87905-661-2
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-87905-667-4
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Hedges, himself a working ``buckaroo,'' spins a colorful yarn about 20th-century cowboys reminiscent of The Rounders. Narrator Tap McCoy is getting old. When he rolls into Denmar, a dot of a town on the Arizona highway, he just wants a haircut and a drink. But one drink turns into many, and the next thing he knows he's waking up in a strange room with a ``scary'' looking woman at his side and his boss's hands around his throat, seeking revenge for Tap's having damaged his truck during the bender. Fired, Tap is picked up by Dean McCuen, a young drugstore cowboy from back East who soon picks a fight that sends both him and Tap to jail. Dean pays his fine and is released, but Tap decides to stay behind bars to separate himself from his new ``friend.'' When he gets out, he takes a job with a pack outfit that specializes in ``real West'' adventures for eager tourists-and there, in the next bunk, is Dean. The pair's further escapades-drinking, fighting, riding, rodeoing-fill out the remainder of this rollicking, affectionate novel. Appealing characters and an appropriately salty style make this a pleasure. A glossary of cowboy terms is included as an aid to the uninitiated. (May)
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