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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Impressed, January 13, 2004
By 
Susan E. Marshall (Berkeley, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: High Steaks (Paperback)
Swiftly moving, gripping, heartfelt, intelligent, funny, sensitive, emotional, and brutally honest down and dirty. Rob takes you on a journey with masterly crafted interwoven plots, but doesn't let you get lost in them. He gives just enough info to portray the scene and to make the reader feel up close and personal with the characters, but does not overwhelm the reader with unnecessary and excessive detail. And boy could he. Who has this depth and scope of knowledge of so many topics?? Again what intelligence! The characters are all so different and fleshed out really well, you really feel like you're there with them - a sweeping scope of human existence in many of its forms. An intriguing plot hard to put down...It felt as though I was watching a movie. Can't wait to see it! Keep em' coming Mr. Loughran!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As the plot thickens, August 14, 2003
By 
This review is from: High Steaks (Paperback)
I got to a point in the book where I just couldn't put it down. It just kept delving deeper, and I loved going with it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprised, August 11, 2003
By 
Penny Hosking (Carson City, NV) - See all my reviews
This review is from: High Steaks (Paperback)
This book made me laugh but "High Steaks" didn't tell any jokes. The characters--just what they do--are legitimately funny. The females; Corine, Wanda Marie, Tasha, Kaitlyn, and Lisa are fully formed--very unusual for a mystery novel which generally relies on stereotypical females--The Whore, The Good Mother, The Hooker With A Heart Of Gold. Corine's chapter, #57 I believe, towards the end of the book, is poetry, insight, and delight. I just finished this book and I want to read it again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a breath of fresh air!, January 25, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: High Steaks (Kindle Edition)
Not since I read The Milagro Beanfield War and The Hotel New Hampshire have I encountered such eclectic, quirky characters in a story that is so much fun to read. I suppose one could make comparisons between all kinds of great books and this wonderful narrative, but one would be hard pressed to actually name a comparable book.

This story of a small group of individuals who, through a variety of mishaps and subversion on both personal and governmental levels, come together by way of opposition is as well put together as any I have read.

Davis O'Kane, the main character, is opposed to allowing his ex-wife to take his beloved twin daughters and ruin his life. Wanda Marie is opposed to getting too close to any one person and allowing love to overpower her individualism. Woody McGuire is opposed to actually making any money with "Future Glue", the racehorse he owns and bets on constantly. Future Glue is opposed to winning. Woody's wife, Kaitlyn, is opposed to being broke, or, it seems, encumbered by marriage. Rooster Rudd, incumbent mayoral candidate in the upcoming election in the town of Nightingale, Nevada, home of our adventure, is opposed to losing the election or any of his current power. Len Arizona, his opposition, is opposed to Rooster's corruption and graft further impacting his beloved Nightingale, where his Paiute uncle William had told him the Indian names for local landmarks, then admonished him to never speak them in front of the white man or risk giving "their places" away.

This small sample of the numerous, rich characters in this story in no way does justice to the artful way Loughran weaves them all into an exhilarating tale full of humor, depth and humanity in all its glory and all its faults. From beginning to end, the book places brick after brick in the structure of the tale, but does so in a creatively deceptive way so as to keep the reader just behind the truth. The result is an entertaining read that demands, and earns, your full attention and keeps you guessing right to the very end.

With that, I read this book in spurts through necessity while being forced to attend real life during the interim. It was excruciating, having to stop reading, and such a joy to return to. Loughran is a skilled narrator and a very creative architect of the overall story. Creative writing is all about developing a story and then finding the most appropriate way to economically present it in its most entertaining form. Loughran has done so in High Steaks! His juxtaposition of chronology of events and flow of story is flawless and serves to wrap the entirety of the tale into an incredibly complex, yet thoroughly understandable, package; gift, really. Few authors are able to separate themselves from the emotionality of their subject matter as well as Loughran has done here while still being able to keep the whole of the story in perspective and working things together into a final product that is so much more than the sum of its parts. The reader gets the feeling Loughran has rather strong feelings about cops, politicians, corporations and "authority", but he's able to step outside himself for the sake of the story and take brush in hand to paint a rather Rembrandt-esque, painterly canvas that, viewed from a distance, melds into a vision of lovliness. He has done with High Steaks, on the page, what a Scorsese or a David Lynch would do on the big screen, only he serves as the lighting engineer, cinematographer, editor and marketing agent as well.

This is a wonderful book that I will now be making time to read again (right after I read Tantric Zoo!), the way it should be read, in one sitting, much in the same manner one watches a favorite movie again to catch the subtleties they missed the first time. I am thrilled beyond description to have found Loughran's words and cannot wait to read more of them. I just hope that he makes more time in the future to write, for the literary world is lacking sufficient quantities of his kind of wit, humor and insightful storytelling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We can't help but root for Davis, May 3, 2004
This review is from: High Steaks (Paperback)
Rob Loughran's career has consisted of working in restaurants. HIGH STEAKS is his first novel, and is the winner of the Fourth Annual Mystery Award.
Davis O'Kane's ex-wife wants custody of their twin daughters, the house, and to make his life miserable. He adores his twins, and his restaurant isn't doing so well either. He is a certified member of Gambling Anonymous. But when Wanda Marie, his on and off girlfriend, is found dead in the freezer in the restaurant of Nightingale, Nevada, Davis begins to wonder if there isn't a conspiracy out to get him. Freddy Finnegan, the town drunk whom Davis feeds a nightly steak, turns up in the trunk of his car, and the IRS comes knocking at the door. All the while, notes from Wanda Marie are addressed to the friends of Davis urging them to bet on a horse named Future Glue that barely qualifies for its races. Something doesn't smell right:
"No one's stupid enough to have a horse work out the morning of a race. Davis fumbled with the HumVee's door and walked to the trailer-Woody monitored his actions in the mirror. Future Glue lolled against the padded and blanketed side of the trailer, held up by a bridle and three straps. The horse's tongue lolled, gray and dry, from the side of his mouth. Davis jogged back to Woody. 'You've been doping Future Glue?'"
HIGH STEAKS is a mystery packed with many subplots all leading to the same conclusion. Davis is a nice-guy hero who is surrounded by misfits; spies; mobsters; and bad cops. The plot is driven by vignettes involving the various characters and their motives, and the denouement is a squirmer for anyone who loves animals and horses in particular. HIGH STEAKS exposes yet another seamy side of horse racing and the greed that usually results in beautiful horses being destroyed. Throughout the story, the drifty but celestial writings of the deceased Wanda Marie provide insight and depth to a well conceived plot.
We can't help but root for Davis to put his life back together, and the lovely Tasha appears just as things are at their bleakest. All's well that ends well, and Davis becomes a humble hero in the end, inviting a sequel. The reader gets to see Davis win and stay unaffected. A good read.
Shelley Glodowski
Senior Reviewer
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story ultimately about people., August 25, 2004
By 
Camille "Camille" (Sonoma County, CA, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: High Steaks (Paperback)
High Steaks is a story that is ultimately about people. You get to meet a full spectrum of characters in this book, all of them equally fascinating, quirky and engaging. Mr. Loughran has the great talent of inciting emotion in the reader. I found myself loathing some characters and wishing I could buy a drink for some of the others. The story is fast-paced and immediately engaging. I highly recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Gravy, December 22, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: High Steaks (Paperback)
Everything about this book is slick. It ain't like reading, it's like listening to music. It just flows through around-and-through-you. It's slick. I read a lot of mysteries and they're somewhat contrived--I love the town of Nightingale; I care about the people who live there. The minor characters in this book complete this book. They all have souls and friends and families I care about. I actually forgot this was a murder mystery--I cared that much about Wanda Marie, and Zenny, and Davis, and Rohn and John. I really did. Do yourself a favor and buy this book. You'll be delighted. I've never reviewed anything; ever. But this is such an entertaining and delightful book I must.
This will be a movie; hop on the bandwagon early and read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars White Trash Treasure Trove, December 8, 2003
By 
This review is from: High Steaks (Paperback)
Never have I read such an intelligent dissection of white trash mentality. High Steaks exposes the mores and foibles of Nevadan society--but lovingly. There is a humorous juxtaposition between the slick prose and what that prose describes that is wickedly clever. Very visual book; I can't wait for the movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!, November 10, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: High Steaks (Paperback)
You ever read a book and feel sorry when it's done? I want these characters to be part of my life...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Delighted, November 10, 2003
By 
This review is from: High Steaks (Paperback)
Boy-O-Boy this book is great. Where's this guy coming from? For a first novel to be so seamless with so many characters. This book is like Donald Westlake on speed. It's funny without telling jokes; it's touching; the female characters are brilliant: Lisa the Babysitter, Tasha, Corine (I love Corine!). I wrote "Really Delighted" for the title; but I think "Smart" might be a better title. It is so smart--geology, chemistry, gambling, statistics, drugs, computers--this guy writes about all this so casually, almost "by the way..."
This is a book to buy for your best friend--can't wait for the movie. Seriously good. What's next, Amigo?
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High Steaks
High Steaks by Rob Loughran (Paperback - August 1, 2003)
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