DEAD DOG BLUES by Neal Barrett


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 The fate of wealthy Texas bully Max Coomer's dog--killed, mounted in a sitting position, and wired for endless tape-recorded barking--would be a lot funnier if it weren't followed by the murder-and-mounting of Max himself, his dead legs churning away in a race for long-past football glory. Temporary town marshal Jack Track, back in Pharaoh, Texas, after 14 years on the road, thinks it's funny anyway--until his own pet is killed (without sound effects). If Max's murderer doesn't get him, Jack will undoubtedly be undone either by Max's widow, Millie Jean, object of Jack's high-school lust, or Max's daughter Smoothie, already, at age 12, years smarter than the adult men she goes after. Looking past prime suspect Nate Graham, Jack finds a passel of lesser contenders, including Max's vanished cleaning lady Emma Stynnes and racist Pharaoh sheriff Deke Glover. Then there's a special agent from the governor's office who seems determined to nail Jack for whatever he was up to during 14 years of roving. Zany but inert, without the mad momentum that made Pink Vodka Blues (1992) so rollicking. But if it's picturesque loonies you're looking for, you've come to the right bin.

Pub Date: June 22nd, 1994
ISBN: 0-312-10963-6
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1994


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