Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dove Season

Dove SeasonDove Season by Johnny Shaw
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When he finds out his father has terminal cancer, Jimmy Veeder returns home for the first time in over a decade. His father has one last request: one last visit with a bar girl named Yolanda. Little does Jimmy know the shitstorm his is about to unleash...

Since Plaster City was part of the Kindle First program this month, I thought it was high time I read Johnny Shaw's first Jimmy Veeder novel, Dove Season, and I'm very glad I did.

Dove Season is a crime tale that feels like something Joe Lansdale would cook up after a night of bad Mexican food. It takes place in the poor communities on the California/Mexico border. Jimmy Veeder is a conflicted Slacker who returns home to spend what remaining time his father has left with the old man. Who knew crossing the border to track down a hooker would stir up so much trouble?

Shaw's dialogue reminds me of Joe Lansdale's; full of black humor and sounding authentically rural. I lost count of all the quotable lines. Jimmy and his best friend Bobby Maves drink and wisecrack their way through the Mexican underworld, getting their asses handed to them repeatedly.

The humor is tempered with some brutality and surprising plot twists. I'm not going to spoil anything but this is certainly a book where the main character doesn't leave the story in a mass of unicorns and rainbows.

The relationships between Jimmy and his friends and the depiction of small town rural life were what separated this story from other crime books for me. The way Bobby and the Buckley's helped Jimmy blunder through everything was awesome.

I guess it's harder than I thought to articulate all the things I liked about this book. Here's a line that I found particularly hilarious: "I feel like I just walked into a tampon ad. I love the shit out of her but it's time we put on our man pants."

4.5 out of 5 stars. Bring on Plaster City!

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