- File Size: 561 KB
- Print Length: 331 pages
- Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (September 25, 2012)
- Publication Date: September 25, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B007KO2MLO
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,366 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Big Maria Kindle Edition
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|Length: 331 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Blake Crouch reviews Johnny Shaw’s new crime humor novel Big Maria
For me, there are several variations on the "amazing reading experience."
- When you can't put a book down due to perfect plotting.
- When you find yourself caring deeply about its characters.
- When those characters are people who in real life you would shudder to have as neighbors and yet you still care.
- And this is truly the rarest of all and nothing short of an absolute gift. When every few pages you stumble across a one-liner that makes you smile, laugh, shake your head, and wonder just how long this writer can sustain this lovely train of thought.
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Harry - spends most of his time either drunk or hungover, and seems to be a magnet for bad luck
Ricky - has messed up badly and wants to win back the respect of his wife and daughter
Frank - an older man with not much time left, is bored with waiting around for death to find him
Frank's the fellow with the most common sense and also something of a "father figure" for the first two. BUT, before you go gettin' that Ozzie Nelson vibe, know that Frank will do WHATEVER IT TAKES to keep Harry and Ricky in line and focused on the prize...which just happens to be a forgotten gold mine.
The fact that said gold mine is now located within the confines of the US Army Proving Ground?
Details. Mere details.
So off these fellows go, on a very bumpy, and very funny, quest for fortune and treasure. In front of them? Guys with guns, choppers and tanks. Behind them? Harry's scary daughter, Mercedes. Forget 'pitbull with lipstick'...she's a rhino with a perm, and she'll do WHATEVER IT TAKES to protect her father, and basically keep him from having any fun.
This book is a comedy of misadventures with likable characters, great dialogue, hilarious situations, and oh, yeah - donkeys. Sounds like a winner to me.
For me, Big Maria is not so much about finding the gold as it is about true friendship. No one would have thought the three of them would end up as friends, but the unlikely happened.
This is a well written novel that would come across as intended for a male audience (in my book, at least)... But amidst the adventures, the swearing, the absence of a female protagonist, the setting on a military-controlled desert/mountain, the story has got humor, and most especially, it's got heart. I like that, I like that very much.
Top international reviews
It's true that this has possibly the most revolting opening of any novel, which finds our lead protagonist literally caught with his pants down. It's also true that the plot is as clunky as a wooden leg, and if you haven't figured out the end once you've read the first third then you really haven't been paying attention, but that same plot tumbles rapidly and entertainingly along with the insane internal logic of a Carl Hiassen novel. The dialogue is crisp, foul and funny - laugh out loud funny on a number of occasions. The violence is unflinching and not for the faint hearted.
If you like the caper novels of Elmore Leonard, and can stomach major league foulness and Tarantino-esque levels of violence, take a hike to the Big Maria. You might enjoy it.
The first 20 pages or don't make for pleasant reading, too much detail about bodily functions, but if you stick with it the story takes off. It's an amusing book, not in a laugh out loud way, but it is an entertaining read, with a couple of twists thrown in to keep the story interesting.
Dont let that one point put you off as you will still enjoy the book even if there are a few words that you dont understand.