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on December 27, 2008
Guilt Trip although still another Blanco County Texas set novel with game warden John Marlin, breaks new ground for this successful series in that part of the storyline leaves Texas and is set in Florida, which is where a lot of writers which Rehder's work is compared to, such as Carl Hiaasen,Dave Barry and Tim Dorsey set their novels. Don't worry Marlin doesn't become a coastguard officer or anything, he in fact never leaves Blanco County, but a few of the central to this storyline characters do flee there in a stolen corvette. I like this aspect as it shows us that when Rehder one day chooses to, he will have no problem writing a standalone storyline novel set wherever he wants to that is just as good as this series.

Basic plot of this one - A politician has received some photographs involving himself, his hot young secretary, a whip and a giant nappy. He is being blackmailed to pass a bill banning high fencing around properties which stop the migration of wildlife who cannot jump them, especially large trophy bucks. Of course being a corrupt individual he has been in the pockets of many rich landowners who quite like these large fences as they can selectively weed out smaller game and keep the big boys for the rich city slickers prepared to pay the big dollars to blow one away and hang its head on their walls. So some seedy characters who are good at persuading people to "do the right" thing are brought in to find the blackmailer. Meanwhile one of those pro high fence rich ranch owners has disappeared, his SUV found floating in the river, a lot of charity money he was responsible for as well as the prize, a brand new red corvette are also missing. Since one of Marlin's closest friends is very vocal about high fences being banned he is immediately a suspect for both the police and the dimwitted seedy characters after the blackmailer.

If you loved and have read all this series also check out the author C.J. Box and his Joe Pickett adventures which also follow a game warden based near a hunting culture small town filled with eccentric red necks, corrupt officials and other fun characters, his books are set in Wyoming. Open Seasonis the first novel in that great series, check it out!

It is important to note if this is a book you've just randomly come across, that you do not need to have read the first novel in the series Buck Fever, the second Bone Dry or third Flat Crazy to enjoy or follow the storyline of this novel. It also does not give away and key plot pieces of those former novels. Other than a reoccurring main character, game warden John Marlin, as well as other eccentric county residents who appear in each novel such as local redneck Billy Don and his friend Red, this series of fun adventures set in Blanco County Texas can be read in any order.
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on July 30, 2012
I almost didn't read this book, it started out slow and I was put-off by the cheesy writing in the beginning, but I am glad I stuck with it. The writing got better and the story had so many layers, stories upon stories, really that kept you trying to figure out what they all had to do with the story and just how they all tied together, and even when you thought you knew, turns out you weren't entirely correct after all. I liked the characters, all of them, and loved how the writer, Ben Rehder, tied all the story lines together in the end. Quite a fun read, I didn't want to put it down. I will sure watch for another Blanco County mystery again!
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on March 26, 2013
I've read several of the Blanco County series books and generally enjoyed them. However, with this one, I found that I've reached my tolerance point.

Switching points of view (POV) is a literary device used to generate suspense and advance multiple plot lines. This can be done brilliantly - my earliest recollection of the technique was The Lord of the Rings. However, Rehder is no Tolkien. With this work, he takes the concept to an extreme. He switches POV every 2 pages - and I'm not exaggerating. This constant switching of perspective left me with a bad case of motion sickness, akin to riding the Octopus ride for too long at the county fair. About halfway through, I stopped caring what was going to happen next and gave up - both times I tried reading this. Sorry, Ben, you lost me!
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VINE VOICEon July 24, 2012
I've never seen a book that bounced around with the story line so much. Murder, extortion, con men, dog psychics, car theft. 30% of the way through the book and I still wasn't sure what the story line was and by the end, wished I'd never invested the time in reading it. While the writing and editing is first rate, it has little to no excitement and is extremely hard to follow. Glad I got it while it was on the free list, would hate to have paid even a dollar for this. I guess fans of Ben Rehder expect and enjoy this kind of style based on the positive reviews here but there are much, much better writers out there who write about the exact some geographical location.
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on September 23, 2005
It has been interesting to witness the author hone his skills and develope his identity through his continued efforts. "Guilt Trip" is by fall the best yet, he has managed to bring his stroy to life through the story-lines. I drive Highway 281 often and he captures the true sense of the people and places in this beautiful part of Texas. The author does a good job of misdirection and clue compounding in the vastly entertaining story. He has added depth to the main characters and introduced several new and colorful characters to keep the story line interesting. I can hardly wait for the next book to see how Marlin does with his new flame...
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on July 29, 2012
This is a good book. But it took me some time to reach this conclusion. At first it is confusing because every chapter introduces new characters. And there are several different plots going on at the same time. To his credit the author does a good job of pulling it all together before I lost interest. Normally, if a book doesn't grab me by the end of the first chapter, I give up on it. There are so many good books to read, I don't waste time on bad novels.
The book is almost all dialog, which is well done and fits the current generation of "hurry up to the chase" readers while I, being an old-fashioned writer and reader prefer character development. I like some depth to my characters so that I get to know them better. The people who populate this novel are thin and transparent - not to say that they are not interesting and weird and they play their parts well.
Elmore Leonard made a very successful and profitable career out of all dialog and weird characters, so this is not a put down of this author's style. And he certainly made me hold on out of curiosity to keep me reading to the last page. I believe this book will appeal to younger readers more than us old farts - but whatever your age it certainly deserves a look.
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on August 10, 2014
I've enjoyed the Blanco County mysteries, starring John Marlin, the animal control officer. A nice change from the usual detective or police officer. And I liked the book, involving a missing person and a missing red Corvette, a raffle, a state legislator who's been photographed in a compromising outfit, his corrupt benefactor and a scenario where ranchers find that fencing off their land and bringing in deer for way more profitable . I enjoyed it more once I decided to drop the whispersync and just read it. I've especially enjoyed the narrator in the past. This book has a new narrator, not the comfortably laid back Robert King Ross, but Michael Gamache who slows down the narration and sounds like a beginner to me. Not that there's anything wrong with that. He overdoes the accents, so that a couple from Wisconsin sounds like they just stepped out of "Fargo," (the movie, not the tv series). I found it so irritating that I asked Audible for a refund and hour and a half after I bought it (which is probably why I got the refund).. And yes, I listened to the sample first, but it wore on me as time went on. Maybe it's not him, it's me. Anyway, back to the book: fans of Ben Rehder's series will enjoy it and new readers might become converts.
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on May 24, 2016
I love the Blanco County mysteries. The mystery winds among several characters and several stories, leading the reader to wonder how they could possible tie together. The conclusion is very satisfying.

The free download I read was sometimes confusing since there was no visible break when the scenes shifted.
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on March 4, 2015
Gifted young storyteller, Ben Rehder, brings his colorful cast of characters to life again. Bungling Red and Billy Don, though second bananas, nevertheless know just when to light the stick of dynamite while game warden Marlin and his lifelong friend Colby smack down the bad guys, prove the underdogs innocent and uncover corruption and murder among the rich and powerful. Just another day in Blanco County. I suggest you begin with Buck Fever, the first installment, and read your way through the series. Once you visit Blanco County you'll want to come back often I'm sure. Good stuff and lots of fun to read.
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on May 7, 2012
Good read with fear and anticipation. Don't want to give away the plot and the only reason I gave it 3 stars is because the language was explicit but that is just my preferences. Enjoyed it on my new Kindle also purchased at Amazon and I am very satisfied!
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