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Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Swollen Red Sun by Matthew McBride

A Swollen Red SunA Swollen Red Sun by Matthew McBride
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an ARC from Open Integrated Media (Mysterious Press, Inc) for **A Swollen Red Sun** by *Matthew McBride* in exchange for an unbiased review. My thanks to Open Road Media for allowing me to read and review this book.

The Author, *Matthew McBride*, begins his book with a note to the readers, telling us that the places he's described in the book are all real. He also says that Gasconade County was once considered the methamphetamine capital of the world. In spite of that, many hardworking, honest people live there. So do a few degenerates. It's the degerates McBride writes about, and that's pure gold for his readers, because to my way of thinking, those degenerates make for the best stories.

The story begins with Deputy Sheriff Dale Everett Banks and Deputy Bo Hastings at Jerry Dean Skaggs' (ever notice the degerates are often named Skaggs?) trailer. Jerry Dean is on parole for shooting a bald eagle, and Banks means to take him back to jail. Jerry Dean is a meth-head and will not go easily. When Banks and Hastings knock the trailer door down, they find evidence that Jerry Dean has been cooking meth which, of course, would be a parole violation, and all the more reason to put Jerry Dean back behind bars.

It's Banks who is the constant presence in this story, and he is very clear about what his role in life is to be: go home alive to his wife and kids. Not that he doesn't do his job effectively; he just won't be shot by "some tweaker". The trick is, can he make it to the end of the book alive when there are some pretty hardnosed bad guys trying to outsmart the law at every corner.

Some of the gang eager for the law to go away are: Reverend Butch Pogue who can spend a whole afternoon butchering horses because he prefers horse meat to any other; Junior, Reverend Pogue's son who is roughly 5 cupcakes short of a baker's dozen; Jackson Brandt, who works with Jerry Dean Skaggs in whatever capacity is needed, but who sometimes seems reluctant to follow an outlaw's path; and Olen Brandt, an 81 year old rancher whose body is letting him down lately. There's also Reverend Pogue's new wife, a whole lot of money, and a hiding place no one in his or her right mind would guess.

McBride has brought together a very interesting bunch of people and then let them have at it. For me, this was a 5 stars novel, and I look forward to what else McBride can do. Keep those degenerates coming!

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