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Coyote Revenge Hardcover – October, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 197 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins; 1st edition (October 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060183969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060183967
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,914,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The small town of Vernon, Okla., proves an evocative setting for the debut mystery written by a former U.S. senator from Oklahoma. In 1937, 26-year-old Okie Dunn returns to Vernon after a stormy stint in law school with his dreams of making it big dashed. Okie trades cattle for a spell, until his boyhood pal, Sheriff Dub Ready, dies in a hunting accident. Dub never was exactly an honest guy, but Okie always retained an affection for him and for Dub's sister, Juanita, who's still around and still single. After he's hastily appointed Dub's successor, Okie is disturbed to find a match between the bullets that killed Dub and those that killed Dub's parents years earlier in an apparent double suicide. The deaths take on an even more suspicious cast when Okie learns that Dub had been trying to buy land from the local Indians, land rumored to be rich in oil. What the 26-year-old Okie lacks in worldliness he makes up for with his quick fists, which the former welterweight boxer has more than one occasion to use as he learns the less than idyllic truth about his small hometown. Although the novel's characters are slight and its period detailing occasionally too earnest, Harris displays a solid prose style. His dialect is particularly well wrought, and he delivers several effective scenes; Okie's dad, for example, succumbs to lung cancer in a suitably somber section. Such well-wrought moments suggest readers can look forward to even better mysteries from Harris in the future. Agent, David Stewart Hull.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Rural dialect, strict adherence to period detail, and unsophisticated characters mark this debut novel by a former U.S. senator from Oklahoma about murder in 1937 Vernon, OK. Narrator Okie Dunn is appointed sheriff after someone "accidentally" kills his friend Dub during a jackrabbit hunt. Though untrained as a law officer, Okie recognizes the death as murderAjust like the supposed double suicide of Dub's parents two years earlier. Okie has plenty of suspects to choose from (Dub's banker father repossessed many farms) and wide latitude in conducting his business (he sleeps with Dub's sister). Slow-going at first, but once Okie becomes sheriff, watch out! For larger collections.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In 1935 Cash County, Oklahoma, someone shoots Hoyt and Inez Ready before torching the farmhouse with the bodies inside. Who did it and why remain a mystery even two years later even though their son Dub is the sheriff of nearby Vernon.
In November 1937, Okie Dunn returns to Vernon after giving up on law school. However, Okie's life radically changes when his friend Dub is killed in what apparently is a hunting accident. The townsfolk give the law enforcement job to Okie, mostly because of his time in law school. He thinks the former sheriff was deliberately murdered. Okie begins to investigate the killings of the three Readys, wondering if a tie to Hoyt's former activities as a banker repossessing property in Dust Bowl, Oklahoma is related.
COYOTE REVENGE is an excellent historical fiction tale that centers on a mystery. However, the who-done-it seems to take a back seat to the lifestyles of people suffering through the Depression in Oklahoma. The story line is entertaining as the era is brought alive so that readers can feel the frustrations of the locals. The mystery is fun, but not earth shattering. Fans of historical fiction will devour Fred Harris' insightful tale.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Charles M. Nobles VINE VOICE on May 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Yes, this book is written by THE Fred R. Harris. You old timers will remember his as the Oklahoma boy born during the Depression in Walters, OK. You know, the one that went on to graduate from OU law school and serve in the State senate for eight years and the U.S. Senate for nine years. The same guy that ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1976. Maybe you have read some of his seventeen authored or co-authored books on political science or social issues. If you happen to be one of those young whipper-snappers that don't remember Harris but are kind of interested, you are in luck. Coyote Revenge is Harris'first historical fiction mystery novel and it is a real keeper. The story is set in rural southwestern Oklahoma in the mid-1930's and is replete with characters that you will swear are right out of Walters, OK. They are all here: ranchers, farmers, Indians, small towns bankers and some womern you will never forget. In addition, there are multiple murders and a suicide that keeps the story moving along with humor, suspense, tragedy, decency, and tenderness that is as authentic as it is moving. Harris is true to his roots in the description and dialogue of the characters and events in the Depression era small town in Oklahoma. I have read a number of scholarly works on the "okies" of the dust bowl ear and Harris has the scene down pat. From the dislike of Hoover to the revering of Roosevelt, where "Hudge" Dunn, father of the principal character "Okie", states "When Roosevelt took his seat in '33 we commenced to climb, and we clumb!Read more ›
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 28, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I started out giving it five stars, but downgraded to four because the mystery was so easy to solve. However, and this is a big however, the sense of time, place, and people was so right on the nose that I could hear my grandfather's voice coming right out at me off the pages. He was born in the Oklahoma Territory and was one of the "Okies" to migrate to California to be called "fruit tramps." To write in such a way that I could see, hear, and taste the depression era thirties, I think, is evidence of an outstanding writer. To know these people, as Mr. Harris does, makes me understand my own family who were as taciturn as the characters in this book. With a few exceptions, everybody he wrote about came alive as someone I've known and loved.
Perhaps, in the end, the mystery of the story should not be the main focus, but the introduction of these wonderful people who shared the painful, hungry, trying times of the era should be. As I began this review by downgrading, I will end it with upgrading the book back to five stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TundraVision on March 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
o/~ "Many months have come and gone since I wandered from my home in the Oklahoma hills where I was born... Way down yonder in the Indian Nation, I rode my pony on the reservation, in the Oklahoma hills where I was born .." o/~ (that's Woody Guthrie singing about Eastern Oklahoma.) In prose resonate of the era, Fred Harris, formerly of the western Oklahoma prairie, and former U.S. Senator, has created a sheriff/sleuth that Sooners can be proud of. This is also a tale of those who stuck out the Depression in Oklahoma while the Joads went to harvest "The Grapes of Wrath" in California. I only have one question: Whatever happened to Progess Beer?
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