A small, clearly imagined adventure thriller that has its debts to Hemingway's ""The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber."" Ben Pierce, a rancher who speaks in fresh, crisp, uppity tones, is losing his ranch to bankers and lawyers, and so he tries to save it by turning the spread into a big-game hunting preserve for rich Texans and others. For multimillionaire Tom Stuart, he has gathered four cats to hunt--a jaguar, a leopard, and two adult mountain lions--and may throw in a buffalo and an antelope if persuaded. Ben's hunting activities have been turning sour in his mouth, but Stuart, who has shot great beasts around the world, is raring for the slaughter. During this expedition he hopes to loosen up, to ""blood"" his asthmatic son (with the jaguar) and his frigid, nymphomaniac, schizophrenic wife Meredith (with a mountain lion). A bit heavy on the irony, psychology, and the symbolism of the hunt, but Faust does manage to make you care about people you don't like--and the hunting/fishing scenes shiver with authenticity. Overall, a good trip through rough country.