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on May 12, 2010
Toby Sawyer is an idiot. I'm sorry, but he is. He's kinda stuck in a trailer park with a dumb wife and a baby son. He loves the kid, but the wife. Feh. She watches reality shows all day. So, yeah. Not so much with that one. But Toby is trying to get his stuff together. He's on part-time with the sheriff's office and trying to get on full-time. A young punk from the local Hatfields or McCoys is found shot to death -- nine bullet holes. Toby is supposed to watch the body while the other cops go investigate and the coroner makes his way there. Toby goes into the local diner for a second and when he comes out, the body is gone. So now his future is shot to hell.

He's not really interested in finding the body. He's interested in just making it all go away, in waking up from a bad dream. One second he's crawling out the window of his college-bound girlfriend and the next he's getting chased like he's Dennis Weaver. And then he's on the run. And he has no idea why. Soon enough, not only is his life at stake -- but so is that of his baby son.

Crooked cops. Smugglers. Nasty locals. This 249-page book is so full of characters, sometimes it feels like that Thomas Mann book where he builds up the family to tear them down. And sometimes this one feels like a long short story, with action that you feel as if you're reading a short story -- all flesh and shotguns and chases.

I read this in one fell-swoop between lunch and dinner on Sunday. Which pisses me off. I should have just read a few chapters each day, so that I could enjoy it for longer.

Ah, well. As they say in the book: "What's a man supposed to do? How does a man know?"

This is what noir is: that rough, bloody adrenaline rush that makes you remember why you read books in the first place.

Buy. This. Book.
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on May 9, 2010
One warning before picking up this book: don't crack it open unless you are willing to park your ass in place for a couple hours and read it front to back in one sitting. Because once the action starts - and it starts almost immediately - it doesn't stop until the end of the book. It is almost impossible to put down.

The Deputy (2010, Tyrus Books) takes place over the waning hours of a single hot, humid night in August. Toby Sawyer is an aimless twenty-something who had abandoned the tiny Oklahoma town of Coyote Crossing to pursue his dream as a musician. Things didn't turn out as planned, and when his mother died shortly after his graduation from the police academy, he returned home to bury her, got a girl pregnant, and ended up staying. Now he's a part time deputy, and really has no higher aspirations than getting hired on full time. When the body of a local bully and small time criminal turns up, and disappears under his watch (he'd left it unattended just long enough to sneak off and have sex with his underage girlfriend, despite having a wife and young son at home), Toby is certain he'll be fired.

Events kick up several notches from there. Before the sun rises Toby will get laid one-and-a-half more times (once by his wife, and almost again a second time with his girlfriend) before getting abandoned or dumped by both. He'll wreck his car, then steal and trash a couple other vehicles that don't belong to him. He'll also be being shot at, attacked with an axe and clawed in the face. Through it all he manages to survive long enough to produce an impressive body count of his own, all while uncovering an illegal human smuggling ring that may or may not include more than half of the Coyote Crossing police force - his co-workers. Not bad work for a guy we really don't have any reason to believe would have it in him to be so efficient at killing people, either in self defense or out of vengeance.

Here's the thing about this book. If you are the kind of reader who wants to pick holes in the narrative, find flaws, or otherwise deconstruct a novel, then you should probably stay away. The book has plenty elements to make one raise an eyebrow over when it comes to the believability department. Toby makes some choices here that are hard to imagine anyone smart enough to get through the police academy making. He's relatively blasé about all the people he kills. Not only that, but lawman or not some of those kills are essentially murders that would be very difficult to explain away when the events of the night come under investigation.

I don't care about any of that. Victor Gischler has written a balls-out action movie of a book, with plenty of sex and violence to appease the most diehard of fans, and that is what I was after when I sat down to read. The story may be long on action and short on character development, but it's fun. It's easy to understand Toby's motivations, and Gischler captures perfectly the dead-end life in a remote small town and the impossible-seeming struggle to get away from it. Toby's not a guy I'd want to give any responsibility to, or be forced to count on to watch my back, but if I were pinned down beside a car with gangsters filling it full of holes, I wouldn't mind having him along for the action.

Besides The Deputy, Gischler has written the novels Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse, Vampire a Go-Go, Shotgun Opera, Suicide Squeeze, and Gun Monkeys. He has also written for Marvel Comics, including runs on characters The Punisher and Deadpool. The guy knows his mayhem, and he's got a great sense of humor. Gischler knows what his readers want and delivers it in gory handfuls. What more could you want?

For something new that is exciting and drips blood but doesn't require a huge time commitment, give The Deputy a try. Fans of violent crime fiction will love it.
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VINE VOICEon April 24, 2010
Victor Gischler's latest novel is ripped from the old noir novels Gold Medal published back in the 1960s. Those books molded a generation of readers and writers that still succumb to tales of crime, criminals, and heroes that get their hands dirty while doing a violent job by their own rules.

As with his earlier novels, Gischler writes about Oklahoma, but Coyote Crossing is so far back in the woods that most people in the state never notice it on the map. Toby Sawyer is a twenty-five year old part-time deputy living the life of a total slacker. He's also got the requisite blue-collar life for living in small town Oklahoma: a wife that doesn't really love him, a young son he loves that forces him to grow up faster than he wants to, a trailer, and a souped-up rusting wreck of a car.

I grew up in towns like Coyote Crossing and Gischler fairly describes the residents and the environment. It's depressing in some instances, as the author intends, but it also reminds me a lot of how hard you have to work to get out of such places, and why life-long residents live there.

The murder of Luke Jordan, a member of an outlaw clan that's lived in Coyote Crossing forever, jump starts the novel into overdrive. I liked the fact that Toby reported for duty wearing his deputy's badge pinned to a Weezer shirt and that his .38 kept dragging his sweatpants down if he tried to hook it there.

Immediately, things take a turn for the worse while Toby's out cheating on his wife when he's supposed to be guarding the body of the murder victim. At the beginning, I really thought about giving up on the book because Toby was such an unsympathetic character and the murder didn't look all that interesting.

Then Gischler turns up the heat. No matter where he is in his life and his fidelity, Toby is a good daddy, and he's dead-set on taking care of his son. I liked that about him. I hung onto that one redeeming quality, which I'm sure was deliberately fostered by Gischler, and got sucked in by the challenges that mounted in front of Toby.

In no time at all, I was rooting for Toby as he went up against Mexican gangsters, crooked deputies inside his own department, and the Jordan clan as they rode into town looking for vengeance. The whole book takes place in the space of about twelve hours, and the pacing makes it impossible to put down as Toby's violent world escalates to total meltdown.

Gischler planned this novel to a T. The plot twists and curves whipcrack the reader into submission and shred any hope of putting the book down until the last page is turned and the gunsmoke haze finally thins. His girlfriend's screwed-up relationship with her step-dad is used throughout the book, as is the step-dad's eighteen-wheeler in ways other than for which it was intended. Everything dovetails into a tight package at the end.

The style of the novel is awesome in that it mirrors the old, pared-down to the bone presentation of those Gold Medal novels I mentioned. People that like Robert B. Parker will enjoy this book, although the hero isn't as pure or as polished as Spenser. However, people looking for deep characterization or deep thinking moments aren't going to find that here. The Deputy is a polished marble slab of noir violence and paranoia that never lets up, a chokehold that won't let go until the reader is down and out.
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on March 4, 2011
Pleasurable read. The journey from small town butt-of-the-joke deputy to a full fledged, fire breathing Law Man over one long eventful (literally, event full) night is told with a laconic humor that makes the neer-do-well deputy a character you won't want to forget. Neither will you forget passages like this: "The hardships and disappointments and tragedies of our lives can make us strong or they can twist us wrong and nobody is exempt from this crapshoot. Not old women or Mexican hellcats or part-time deputies."
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on November 15, 2011
The Deputy by Victor Gischler is a fun and wacky (in a good kind of way) adventure of a book. It's probably not going to be noticed by a lot of people or to the media but if you're looking for a quick read that is easy to follow along and won't scramble your brains trying to look for an answer, then definitely give The Deputy a try. These are the kind of books that although you'll definitely find flaws in them, you really won't mind them too much because it's not something you'll take seriously. You purchase it, read it, finish it and that's it. The Deputy places Toby Sawyer, who works part time in the police department at a crappy little town in Oklahoma called Coyote Crossing, in the middle of a sequence of dramatic events one after another after he was tasked to watch over a dead body. All hell breaks loose once he manages to lose that dead body and from there, things escalates faster than he can imagine them.

If I'm not mistaken, the entire events of The Deputy is all told within a nights time frame. However, the author doesn't actually give us the exact time for when events happen. And yes, many events do happen in this book! The story is simple enough. Toby is suppose to watch over a dead body, it goes missing, people then start chasing him to dish out a beat down, and Toby goes on a mission to discover just what the heck is going on.

There's not a whole bunch of stand out characters in The Deputy, being it's a short book and all. You pretty much follow Toby from start to beginning. What makes the story fun is that you just can't help but root for the guy. He's your typical dude who swears a lot, lives in a trailer, has many problems that would plague a normal person as well, enjoys sex and most of all, he considers himself stupid. The last point makes for some hilarious dialogue and moments in the book. You see, Toby did just enough to past the test to get into the police task force. So, he's no Jack Bauer or your typical MI5 operative. He's human and he makes mistakes just like any other.

There are a lot of fast paced action in this book. This keeps the book exciting and to make sure you never want to put it down. Yes, there will be some bloodshed and a whole lot of gun play but for the most part, it's not too gruesome. However, you'll still get the satisfied feeling that something big just went down!

In the end, I have nothing but good things to say about The Deputy. While reading the book, I've tried numerous times picturing myself in Toby's shoes and imagine how life would be in such a desolate town out in the middle of nowhere. While some of you might see the ending from a mile away, it shouldn't hamper the book too much. The Deputy was a free download on my Kindle device and many like to use the phrase "You get what you paid for". Well, I'm glad to say that I have read many interesting books in the free Kindle section and some of them even beat one's I've had to pay for. The Deputy is one such book.
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on December 29, 2014
As far as I could tell, this story took place over 24 to 48 hours in a small town in Oklahoma, but I lost count of the killings and the number of the hero's near escapes. By the time it was all over, the town's population must have been down by a third. The writing was OK, I suppose, but the story and action were so far-fetched that it was completely unbelievable. Nobody could have as many close calls as this guy did nor do as much strenuous stuff as he did and not keel over. Some of the things that happened were just plain silly. I guessed early on who the main baddie was, and the final confrontation was predictable and lame. I really felt I had wasted my time after I finished reading this. (At least it was a fast read.) Oh, and the sex scenes must have been added so you knew the guy was a real man's man or something.
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VINE VOICEon April 21, 2010
I have especially enjoyed and highly recommended Gischler's "Shotgun Opera" and "Go-Go Girls Of The Apocalypse". I was less impressed with "The Deputy" than either of these previous efforts. Toby Sawyer is a 25 year old desperately in search of himself. He is married to Doris, who may or may not be faithful to him, has a child, and lives in a trailer. He is also a part-time deputy in a 5 man police force in Coyote Crossing, Oklahoma and his main hope for vocational advancement is to become a full time deputy in this God-forsaken small town that is smack dab in the middle of the Mexican illegals underground highway.

When local bad boy Luke Jordan is killed in the middle of town, Toby is assigned to watch his body until the authorities can arrive to deal with it. In a very short time, Luke's body disappears, Toby is followed and later run off the road by suspicious Mexicans in a hi-performance Mustang, attacked by a fellow deputy, is put into kill-or-be-killed circumstances with former colleagues, with illegals, and with unknown assailants, and seems to have no one to turn to for help. In the meantime, he must deal with the mundane transgressions in Coyote Crossing along with his wife's sudden disappearance leaving him with the infant, and the growing knowledge that he is in the middle of a nightmare that he has no idea how to get out of.

Who can he trust? Who is involved in the illegal running of Mexicans across the border and how widespread is the conspiracy. What happened to Luke's body? Why do the Mexican gangsters want to beat him and take his keys? Where has his wife gone and why do the surviving Jordan brothers want him dead? All these questions are ultimately answered in this fast-paced easy to read novel that seems to promise more than it ultimately delivers. While Gischler piles up the bodies as young Toby comes of age during an impossible day-in-the-life-of Coyote Crossing, the reader is left to scramble for reasons to care. This reader never found a particular reason to care about Toby nor any of the other characters in "The Deputy" as character development was clearly sacrificed for fast paced thrills. There is a mildly surprising twist at the end that may catch some readers. I was also distracted by at least 9 typos which are less a responsibilty of the author than of the editor. If you are a Gischler fan, try this one out for the pacing, the suspense, and the body count. But don't expect depth of character and nuance.
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on October 27, 2013
A red-neck, green-horn, trailer-trash lawman looses a body and uncovers a monstrous, criminal conspiracy. It's a great book and a text-book example of how an author uses the impact of plot to drive character development.
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on October 2, 2013
Really enjoyed this fast past and thoroughly entertaining story even though it did defy belief. Toby Sawyer is a part time deputy in a small rundown town not too far from the Mexican border.

To put it bluntly Toby is a bit of loser, manipulated into a shotgun marriage, having a young son and living in a trailer, he's going nowhere fast.

When Toby is asked by the Chief of Police to watch over a dead body in the street, Toby can't even manage that. When the body disappears and some one tries to take Toby out of the picture, he begins to wise up very fast indeed.

All of the action in this book covers a period of 24 hours as Toby uncovers corruption and human trafficking right under his nose. In some ways it's a coming of age novel along with the lone gunman taking on an all comers scenario.

There are some one liners and pockets of humor that really set the mood for this well written novel with a likable hero.

Pure escapism.
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on December 1, 2011
Have you ever heared of Dirty Harry, well meet Dumb Harry, at least at the beginning. Toby the deputy most be to unluckiest guy I have ever read about and he keep looking for more.

I love Toby, he has a heart and a consciense, you'll see maybe not at the beginning but he does get there. Superb writing, just the right pacing so the story doesn't get long in the leg. If you like action movies or book, this is for you.
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