BLACK ANGUS by Newton Thornburg


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Ex-ad-man Bob Blanchard from St. Louis has got his worries. When an inheritance came his way, he bought a cattle ranch in the Missouri Ozarks. But his wife and son have picked up and left, the bank's threatening to foreclose on the land, and his Black Angus herd has brucellosis. The only folks he can depend on are his retarded adult brother Tommy, his barmaid-girlfriend Ronda, and a sponging wife-beater of a friend named Shea, a man perpetually on the lam from anything approaching responsibility. Shea suggests to Blanchard that a scheme might be tricked up by which the sick cattle could be sold quickly before they're condemned by the state, then a robbery reported--a cattle-rustling--and, between the receipts from the sale and the insurance from the rustling, enough money would be raised to save the ranch. Blanchard reluctantly goes along. Who will throw the wrench into this obviously lame and doomed plan? That's the sole suspense here, but the answer is telegraphed so early on that all you do is shrug when it finally happens. Thornburg (Cutter and Bone) has done much better than this stiff, unconvincing diorama.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1978
Publisher: Little, Brown