cover image Champagne Cowboys

Champagne Cowboys

Leo W. Banks. Brash, $17.99 trade paper (296p) ISBN 978-1-7324226-4-3

Banks’s excellent sequel to 2017’s Double Wide opens with Prospero “Whip” Stark, a former baseball player for a major league Mexican team and now owner of a trailer park on the outskirts of Tucson, Ariz., receiving a call from his TV reporter friend, Roxanne Santa Cruz. Roxanne has a source, Ash Sterling, who has hinted that he could help them solve the murder of two close friends of Whip’s who died during a robbery at their home. Whip arrives at Sterling’s mansion to find him dead, with a bullet hole in his chest and two of his fingers removed. The house has been ransacked, and the walk-in safe is unlocked and empty. The subsequent death of Sterling’s maid kicks the plot into high gear as Whip tangles with a variety of Tucson high rollers and lowlifes. The writing flows easily, the dialogue is peppered with wry observations, the plot tightly braids its seemingly disparate strands into a fascinating pattern, and the characters zing with life. This intelligent, pleasurable western noir will have readers longing for more. (Mar.)