OUTLAW BIKER by Mary Gardner


My Life at Full Throttle
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Biker rides, deals drugs, goes to Vegas, repeats.

When co-author Gardner was researching her novel Salvation Run, she started hanging out in a St. Paul motorcycle shop where she kept hearing stories about Richard “Deadeye” Hayes, local legend and noted raconteur. After they finally met up, she decided to help him write his life story, and it’s easy to understand why. His autobiography is nothing if not colorful, from the moment this compulsively anti-authoritarian kid started using drugs in the 1960s. Portrayed here as a film-worthy antihero, Hayes survived many violent confrontations over the years, including a couple of shootings—ironically, it was accidental gunfire that cost him his eye and won him his nickname. Profane and temperamental, but with a yen for prankish humor, a soft streak a mile wide and a deep supply of worldly wisdom to draw from, Hayes comes across as an likable guy who just happens to ride with the Los Valientes bikers and to have made and lost a few fortunes over the years dealing drugs, mainly methamphetamines. Where he and Gardner get into trouble is with the book’s loose-limbed structure, which sometimes gives off the pleasant aftereffect of a boozy conversation with a genial stranger, but more often seems like little more than a randomly linked listing of and thens. While this approach has its merits—unlike most narrators, Hayes can get away with starting a paragraph, “Then there was the time I got stabbed in the stomach”—it loses its appeal well before sputtering to a conclusion.

Fast-paced and fun, but rambles too much for its own good.

Pub Date: March 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8065-2899-1
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Citadel/Kensington
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2007


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