cover image Ride, Cowboy, Ride!: 
8 Seconds Ain’t That Long

Ride, Cowboy, Ride!: 8 Seconds Ain’t That Long

Baxter Black. Globe Pequot/TwoDot, $22.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7627-8046-4

In his funniest novel yet, cowboy poet Black pits two modern-day rodeo cowboys against wild bucking broncs and ornery bulls, as well as ruthless endangered species smugglers, a vindictive beauty queen, and the hilarious fumblings of the romantic heart. This comical farce is a fine example of western humor loaded with silliness and wacky malapropisms. Cooney Bedlam and Straight Line are rodeo cowboy traveling buddies who ride broncs and bulls for the big money–and bigger belt buckles—of champions. Straight is serious about his career; Cooney is a free-spirit, smitten by Pica D’TroiT, “a pistol-packin’ pawnshop pinup girl.” When Straight and Pica become involved in the fiercely competitive business of cowboy cosmetics, they earn the enmity of a bitter female model and her lovesick boyfriend. As Cooney and Straight compete en route to nationals in Vegas, their misadventures include fighting off an angry mob of animal rights activists with a fly swatter, drinking too much prune juice and tequila, and riding against famous cowboys, including Hubcap Longevity, in a goofy llama race (“A word about llamas: nasty”). Meanwhile, Pica’s framed for smuggling endangered species feathers, and Cooney tries to clear her name and avoid the murderous intentions of an inept Latino gunman (think Desi Arnaz with a pistol). A hoot. (Sept.)