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.