Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ranchero by Rick Gavin

Repo man Nick Reid had a seemingly simple job to do: talk to Percy Dwayne Dubois about the payments he’s behind on for a flat screen TV, or repossess it. But Percy Dwayne wouldn't give in.  Instead he decided that since the world was stacked against him anyway, he might as well fight it. He hit Nick over the head with a fireplace shovel, tied him up with a length of lamp cord, and stole the mint-condition calypso coral-colored 1969 Ranchero that Nick had borrowed from his landlady.  And he took the TV with him on a rowdy ride across the Mississippi Delta.
Nick has no choice but to go after him. The fact that the trail eventually leads to Guy, a meth cooker recently set up in the Delta after the Feds ran him out of New Orleans, is of no consequence - Nick will do anything to get the Ranchero back.  And it turns out he might have to.

Dave and I read this book in one sitting during a recent drive to Manhattan - or should that be two sittings?  On the way there, and on the way back?  Either way, we read it in a day.  It just seemed like a natural choice for a road trip, as the plot revolves around a prolonged car chase.  The main characters, Nick and his sidekick, Desmond, reminded me of Robert B. Parker's Spenser and Hawk, with a southern accent.  The chase was fast-moving and fun, with a slew of quirky characters and vivid descriptions of the Mississippi Delta.

The writing is full of unique phrases - the bad guy "saw fit to go all white-trash philosophical" - that added to the southern flavor, but we agreed that the author needs to step away from the thesaurus.  The regionalisms added flavor, but combined with a love of complex sentences and big words, they almost made us wish we had a decoder ring to unravel some portions.  

Our combined rating for this book would be three out of five stars.  It kept our interest and was fun to read, but - as Simon Cowell would say - it was "forgettable".  Although there was nothing seriously "bad" about the book, neither was there anything outstanding. If it comes up in conversation we'll be saying "I know I read that, but can't remember what it's about."

Our copy of Ranchero was courtesy of Macmillan Library Marketing through a Twitter give-away.  (@MacmillanLib)


  1. I like books like this every once in awhile. You don't have to "think" much about them when you are reading them; they hold your interest, but they are forgetable down the road (kind of like a Danielle Steele book). Thanks for the review!


  2. I find that most thrillers are kind of forgettable. Good while you are reading but you can barely remember the details or the characters a week later. So did you read out loud to each other in the car???? : )