Now that Tommie Irons has finally succumbed to cancer, part-Cheyenne shaman Mad Dog, né Harvey Edward Maddox, has one last service to render his part-Choctaw friend: sneaking into Sunshine Towers and, with the staff’s full cooperation, sneaking out with Tommie’s body so that he can give it proper Native American internment high atop a tree. While Mad Dog’s busy in this good work, though, his half-breed wolf-dog brings him a more disconcerting relict: an infant’s skull, along with evidence that links a nearby cache of bones to County Supervisor Ezekiel Hornbaker. Meanwhile, Mad Dog’s half-brother, Sheriff English, called “Englishman” even by his wife, has made a discovery of his own: somebody has taken demented old Alice Burton’s beloved baby doll from her arms and substituted a real, albeit defunct, baby. Wait, there’s more, since Hayes (Mad Dog and Englishman, 2000, etc.) piles on outrageous subplots in an unrelenting mode of violent, breakneck farce, crosscutting without mercy from Mad Dog’s adventures with a red-shoed woman who insists that she’s Dorothy and he’s the Wizard to the sheriff’s search for a secret abortionist and a Nazi treasure to the mishaps that begin when the sheriff’s daughter Heather—not to be confused with his foster daughter Heather—gets clueless deputy Wynn Some (Lose Some) to teach her to drive his manual-transmission police cruiser. Mad Dog may end up looking like the sanest citizen in Buffalo Springs.
The final secret, even zanier than anything that’s gone before, makes you wonder if Oz is really so far from Kansas after all.