BUCK FEVER: A Blanco County Texas Novel

Ben Rehder, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur $23.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-312-29114-3

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. (Sept. 16)

Reviewed on: 08/26/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 371 pages - 978-0-7862-5197-1
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-0-312-70797-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 288 pages - 978-0-312-99220-0
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-0754-6
Paperback - 234 pages - 978-1-4664-1454-9
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