Wild Horses (eBook)
- Author: Brian Hodge
- Pub. Date: January 24, 2012
- Status: E-Book
by Brian Hodge
About the eBook:
In Las Vegas, anything goes. So when Allison discovers her blackjack dealer boyfriend has a cheatin' heart, "hit me" takes on a whole new meaning. She clobbers Boyd with a cactus. Then she trashes his prized money-skimming scam, swipes his only records of an off-shore bank account (the key to a fortune) without realizing it, and blows town. Big mistake. Because Boyd has a partner: an aging showgirl still young enough to scheme. Not happy with her cut, this redhead wants revenge–and she knows a cold-blooded killer who will help her get it. Meanwhile, Boyd has found solace with a new-age hooker who cares about Boyd's karma more than his money.
Now the whole brawling, balling, hurting tangle of friends, traitors, and lovers is going on the road. In separate cars. Leaving behind a trail of broken bodies and broken laws, they're all following Allison. And she's following a devious plan of her own...
Brian Hodge is the author of ten novels and close to 100 short stories. Recent books include Hellboy: On Earth As It Is In Hell (Pocket Books) and World of Hurt (Earthling Publications), which furthers his growing story cycle of the Misbegotten. Future works include his fourth story collection, a new novel that's underway, and further installments in the Misbegotten saga. He lives in Colorado, where he also indulges interests in music and sound design, photography, local microbrews, and mountain air.
"Extending the arc that has led him increasingly away from the horror content of his early '90s novels, Hodge serves up a soulful crime drama that blends the comic and macabre. When Las Vegas day-care worker Allison Willoughby discovers that her blackjack dealer boyfriend Boyd is cheating on her, she packs her bags and, out of spite, empties the hard drive of his laptop onto floppies, then erases the hard drive and sends the box to Mississippi with her belongings. Big mistake. Those disks contain access codes for accounts where Boyd has stashed three-quarters of a million dollars that he and aging showgirl Madeline DeCarlo have skimmed from casino profits. Oblivious to the turmoil that ensues, Allison embarks on a redemptive cross-country odyssey during which she comes to terms with her sexually abusive father and meets soulmate Thomas St. John. Fumbling in bloody pursuit are the double-crossing Boyd, and the double-crossed Madeline, whose new lover, cold-blooded hit man Gunther Manzetti, adds the requisite, but uniquely characterized, psychotic loose-cannon element to the loopy gang of money-grubbers. Hodge's plotting is routine and his prose often too lyrical for the tale's more hard-boiled moments. (Of two women having a fistfight, he writes, "They flung each other out the door to land beneath the stars above this desert town where dreams and old dogs came to die"). But his well-drawn criminals make a memorable batch of bottom-feeders, particularly the eerie Gunther, who spends his time expanding his vocabulary and dispatching victims with Drano. Hodge orchestrates their foibles with a conviction that almost makes you believe, as they do, that there are sermons in bathroom graffiti and that the most outrageous twists of fate are the credible dividends of Vegas odds. "
— Publishers Weekly
"Despite a plot littered with gamblers, con men, and violence, Wild Horses is a quest for the good life and a study of human relationships. We meet thirtysomething Allison Willoughby in Las Vegas as she is about to discover her current lover's infidelity. Quickly bidding Boyd adieu by smashing a potted cactus on his car, she embarks on a cross-country trek unaware that she possesses computer files worth $700,000 to Boyd; his pit boss paramour, Madeline; and her thug boyfriend, Gunther. Hodge's savvy depiction of modern life's underbelly recalls the work of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen. His pace is quick, the action tough and dirty. In contrast, he employs an amazingly delicate touch when depicting the vulnerable aspects of his characters. Best of all, the escapades of this motley band of players speak directly to anyone who has longed to tread a riskier path."
"A debut thriller that hits the road with a cast of characters only Charles Addams could love, all of them in hot pursuit of $750,000 skimmed off the top of a Vegas blackjack table. Allison Willoughby had the universe figured out by the time she was twenty-five, the last six years serving only to reinforce her understanding. Which basically means: the girl just refuses to learn. The latest example is Allisons discovery of her boyfriend Boyd Dobbins in flagrante with a woman a good deal older and lessshall we say?appealing than herself. Some mysteries are just too disgusting to work out, so Allison does the normal thing and blows town. But, unbeknownst to her, Boyds real lust had been financial rather than carnal: a blackjack dealer at a Vegas casino, he had been embezzling table receipts with the connivance of his boss Madeleine DeCarlo, and Maddy had demanded that part of her cut be paid, well, in kind. Not that Boyd is any kind of angel, of course, but the fact is that Allison leaves him in deep trouble by disappearing, since she unknowingly takes with her the only key Boyd has to recovering the loot from its Cayman Island home. This makes Maddy mad as hell, of course, since she naturally suspects that Boyd double-crossed her. She teams up with her unsavory friend Gunther, a Mafia dropout who has discovered some inventive uses for Drano, and tries to get the truth out of Boyd. Fortunately, Boyd has the help of Krystal Lyte, a Vegas call-girl with a heart of gold and a knack for dropping by just in the nick of time. The two of them soon head of in pursuit of Allisona chase that leads through the febrile wastes of Texas into the humid wastes of Yazoo City, Mississippi, with Maddy and Gunther never far behind. Taut prose, good action, and a crisp pace add up to a good read: Hodge draws characters with the texture of Daumierand the imagination of LeFanu."
“A GREAT RODEO RIDE OF A BOOK, LEAPING AND TWISTING AND BUCKING FOR ALL IT'S WORTH. Delightful surprises. Wonderful thrills.”
–JOE R. LANSDALE
“RECALLS THE WORK OF ELMORE LEONARD AND CARL HIAASEN. [Hodge's] pace is quick, the action tough and dirty.”
“A FIRST-CLASS CRIME THRILLER . . . Full of suspense, dark humor, and richly comic characters . . . Highly entertaining.”