John Marlin finds himself smack in the middle of the nation’s gun debate, uncomfortably able to see both sides.
Naturally, the game warden of Blanco County, Texas, is a card-carrying member of the National Weapons Alliance and a firm believer in the dictum that crime is caused by criminals, not guns. But it’s all too easy for Marlin to see where his lover Nicole is coming from. Nicole, herself a police officer and a victim of gun abuse, views existing prohibitions—especially Texas laws—as woefully inadequate. Now trouble looms along with that pesky difference of opinion. The apparently accidental death of a Mexican illegal gets complicated in a hurry when Marlin learns that the decedent didn’t die where he was found. Then a connection between the corpse and country singer/NWA spokesman Mitch Campbell turns the screw. Clearly, Marlin has a high-profile homicide on his hands. But who’s done what to whom and why? The mystery is as muddy as a rain-drenched duck blind. As the day for the giant NWA rally draws near, Marlin and friends race to sort out an unnerving list of imponderables. Has murder now become a tactic in the ongoing Second Amendment battle? And on a purely domestic level, can a house divided by the NWA somehow stand?
After four Rehder bull’s-eyes (Guilt Trip, 2005, etc.), a surplus of subplots this time results in diffusion, confusion and a misfire.