A rodeo rider rampages through the City of Lights.
Rowdy Talbot is a cowboy. He is, in fact, a bull-rider—just not a very good one. But he finally gets lucky at the Crockett County, Colo., rodeo, and he gets lucky again later that night. When he’s celebrating his triumphant ride at a local bar, he meets two Frenchwomen, both of whom go back to his motel room. The gals are gone when he gets up in the morning—and so is his championship belt buckle. This trophy is important to Rowdy not just because it’s a memento of his single rodeo win, but also because he wants to give it to his son. He wants the boy to have concrete proof that, no matter what Rowdy’s ex might say, Rowdy is not a loser. So, he sets out for Paris, where he has just a few days to find the belt buckle and make it back home for the next rodeo. Thus ensues a frequently entertaining, but ultimately unpleasant, fish-out-of-water farce. Sandlin (Jimi Hendrix Turns Eighty, 2007, etc.) knows how to keep his plot simple and his action brisk, and some of Rowdy’s observations are genuinely funny. Having extricated himself from the threesome that sets the plot in motion, Rowdy opines thusly: “It was interesting without being poignant, like watching reality television.” And there’s something truly masterful about an author who sends his cowboy hero chasing villains through the streets of Paris not on a horse, but on a Segway. However, as the novel progresses, Rowdy’s roughneck charm wears thin. He’s just a little too angry and a little too violent for romantic comedy. He hates pretty much everyone he meets, and he doesn’t just punch the bad guys. He essentially stalks the young woman who becomes his love interest—he breaks into her home and threatens her more than once. He’s also chronically late with his child-support payments, which ends up making his dedication to cowboy penury seem more like selfishness than integrity.
An occasionally funny novel with an ultimately unlikable hero.