Set against the rough landscape of the Mexican border and California desert, Plaster City overflows with beer, shotguns, and dusty outlaws. What elevates the story are the authenticity and black humor that remind me of Elmore Leonard. Sure, Johnny’s a guy’s guy. But the interesting thing is that some of his biggest fans are women, like me. Perhaps that’s because at the core of Plaster City, you’ll find a smart and tough but honest story about friendship and loyalty. His characters can be crude and violent, but in the end they value and seek what we all want: understanding and acceptance from the people we love. Don’t get me wrong, though. You’ll still see more than your fair share of fights, foul language, and Mexican biker gangs.
When we asked best-selling author Craig Johnson to describe his buddy’s book, he used a few more words than Johnny but still nailed it:
“You wanna know what reading a Johnny Shaw book is like? It’s like blistering the surface of the coastal road around the Salton Sea in a lipstick-red ’59 Cadillac Biarritz convertible with unregistered weapons under the seat, illegal substances in the glove box, a shoeless, unconscious city councilman in the cavernous trunk, with Bruce Springsteen blaring out of all six speakers—and just when you think the crazy can’t get any more out of control, Plaster City takes the cigar from its lips and hands you the fifth of Maker’s Mark, saying, ‘Hold this, I wanna try something I saw on a cartoon once.’”
Consider yourself warned.
- Anh Schluep, Editor