A LITTLE BIT DEAD by Chap Reaver


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Another action-packed, character-rich tale from Reaver (Mote, 1990): Bringing a load of furs into town, Reece happens on a lynching party and rescues Shanti, a Native American. Later, the lynchers accuse Reece of murder, and--after they're made to look foolish in a hilarious courtroom scene--burn Reece's shack and kill Shanti's entire family, for which Shanti and Reece exact bloody revenge. The emotional level here is anything but even, ranging abruptly from the tender irony of Reece's first sex (the feisty prostitute says, ""I'm 18, but I'm about a hundred years older than you are""; still, she marries him in the end) to the tension of fleeing from a posse into a deadly blizzard, the horror of the massacre, and the rage of the final gun battle. Everyone is vividly drawn--ordinary but larger than life. Despite the language barrier, Reece and Shanti become loyal, trusting friends, parting only when Reece refuses to kill again and Shanti goes off with Crazy Horse to fight. Violent but well-crafted, with a thoughtful, cleareyed protagonist.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1992
Page count: 234pp
Publisher: Delacorte