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The Wowzer [Paperback]

Frank Wheeler Jr.
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 7.64 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Audio, CD, Audiobook 14.08  
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Book Description

1 May 2012
In the Arkansas Ozarks, old-timers spin tales of the Wowzer, a giant panther-like creature that decapitates those who wander too far into the woods. County sheriff’s deputy Jerry was raised on Wowzer stories, but they aren’t enough to stop him from carrying out his own business in the remote hills. Jerry’s more than a sheriff’s deputy; he moonlights as muscle for local drug traffickers, who sometimes need people to get hurt—or get dead. Fortunately, Jerry’s pretty good at his job. And since Tom Haskell runs the sheriff’s office and the drug-protection racket, Jerry doesn’t see much of a moral dilemma. That is, until he starts thinking about getting out of the trade, and then things get complicated fast. For starters, Jerry’s girl Maggie flees the state after learning about a disturbing diagnosis tucked inside Jerry’s psych report. And now Sheriff Haskell is dragging his feet paying Jerry his cut of the drug money. Is Haskell just reluctant to lose his top muscle? Or is he plotting to take out the man who knows his dirtiest secrets? Fans of hardboiled, “country noir” fiction will love gnashing on Frank Wheeler’s violent and darkly comic debut, sneaking a glimpse into the mind of a killer whose inner monster is about to be unleashed.

Product details

  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (1 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612182127
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612182124
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 14 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,169,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Frank Wheeler Jr. was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the son of a preacher. Just thirty-three years old, he has lived in Minnesota, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Maryland, and Nebraska, where he earned his B.A. and M.A. in English studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He and his wife, Marie, do their best to stay in one place these days, living in Nebraska where Frank teaches at a community college in Lincoln. Inspired by the stories his Arkansas uncles used to tell, The Wowzer is Frank Wheeler’s first novel.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An overdose of dialect. 13 Sep 2012
Format:Paperback
(Disclosure #1, I live in the South and am quite "country". I can y'all with the best. So, my comments about this book are not from lack of association with the characters or setting. In fact, I live in an even smaller town which is about a hundred miles from where this story takes place.)

(Disclosure #2, after four tries, I only read the first 83 pages before giving up. The reasons follow.)

This story is told in first-person. Unfortunately, that means that the main character and the narrator have the same flaws. Those flaws were a big turnoff. The "I's" done this and that are belied by the rest of the book being grammatically correct. This artificial gimmick was not only uninteresting, but also unnecessary.

Had this been written in a third-person "as told to and cleaned up by the narrator" book, it would have been a lot better. Then the dialogue could be "aw shucks" as can be without hitting the reader with it in every sentence. As is, what might be a decent story is hidden.

Too much of anything quite often turns out to be just too much.

I didn't like it. Per Amazon that's two stars.

(I received an Advance Reader's Copy from the Amazon US Vine program.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Backwoods folk as sharp and as deadly as knives 11 Aug 2012
By Ghostgrey51 TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Told in the first person in the accents of the Arkansas hills this is the tale of Jerry, a deputy in the local sheriff's office, in a locality where drug trafficking and attendant corruption seem to be something of a way of life, though as long as you don't get involved, say nothing and keep your head down, you will most likely not come to any harm. If you are involved, well now that's a different story, double and triple crosses abound, damaged folk drift in and out in a scenario that is as deadly as anything you would find in Urban Mean Streets.
The title references of mythical backwoods beast that'll take your head off if you stray too far into its land. At times when the game is at its deadliest Jerry identifies with this beast.
Central character Jerry might talk like a hick, but he is constantly one step ahead as a born survivor. A nice touch to illustrate how sharp he is, is the habit he has of describing those he meets as if in a police profile; age, height, weight. He kills or injures without any remorse those who are also involved in this dangerous game; it is never really clear whether he need to kill some of these folk or not, he just does this to be safe, it is how he views the world. Unhinged yes, but not repellent, you get the impression as long as you didn't cross him, you'd be safe.
In Jerry's labyrinthine world is his girlfriend Maggie, with her own demons and scared out of her wits when she learns the truth of his other side, angry at her desertion of him, he still remains loving to her, trying his best to win her back in his own version of tenderness, this relationship continues despite the pressures but whether it will be continuing beyond this book is never made clear.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A COP. A VERY DANGEROUS COP 8 July 2012
By Mr. William Oxley VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was intrigued by a story that introduces itself as one part Dexter, Dexter : Complete Season 1 [DVD], one part Southern gothic, with a dash of psychosis for good measure! The title itself was also intriguing, Wowzer. A Wowzer being a giant creature of the woods that decapitates it's victims. So I was ready to be thrown into the deep end of a story that could go anywhere.

To be honest there is not much similarity with Dexter as Jerry is more of a lethal thug enforcer to ensure the local drug traders remain king of the hill. Jerry is a likeable guy, but he is a cop. A cop that abuses his power for personal gain. Maybe this is how society works these days as everybody seems to be out for themselves, make a huge wedge, and then sail off into the sunset. Never mind the bloodshed or chaos left behind. But Jerry is not going to retire if his boss has his own way...

Jerry is also in love. But his girlfriend is being drawn into the crossfire, and she has misgivings about Jerry. Will Jerry be able to hold onto his girl?

I liked the story. Some twists and turns. Recommended for those who want to read something different than the usual.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty modern American noir 29 Jun 2012
By Rowena Hoseason HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is NOT a supernatural or horror story, despite the way the blurb is written. Ignore the title for a while.
This is a modern-day crime thriller set in the backwoods of the Ozarks. It's the tale of a bad man whose life unravels into a cascade of conflict and conspiracy. It reeks of violence and gunshot residue, of blood and bitterness. It speaks with an authentic authority about corruption in small-town America, about drugs, about love, and about the peculiar nature of the sociopath.
The protagonist is a very bad man indeed, but he's also a compelling character. And his relationship with the woman he ... `loves' ... is beautifully portrayed. His fixation upon her is so fierce that you don't quite know how they will both survive it; and she's no flim-flam floozy, but is another credible creation, a fully-rounded and complicated person. Who just happens to have gotten involved with a psycho nutter enforcer, small cog in an illegal drug operation which blows up in his face. Literally, at times.

This is (I believe) a first novel, and it's wonderfully accomplished for that. Some readers will hate the first-person narrative which is written in drawled, accented English. At first that style got between me and the story but it became part of the texture after a couple of chapters, and I was glad I stuck with it.
The body-count reaches epic proportions in the latter chapters, which kinda stretches the credibility of the tale, but overall I romped along with the plot, desperate to see how the protagonist could fight his way out of the corner he'd backed in to.
The Wowzer reminded me of the early tales of the Swagger family (
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars What's with the accent?
A good story, well written but ruined for me by the needless dialect dialogue. Maybe this will not bother other readers.
Published 5 months ago by blends1985
2.0 out of 5 stars Not wow
Couldn't get on with the style of writing at all, though maybe needed to persist until the plot caught me?!
Published 5 months ago by girlonfire
4.0 out of 5 stars different
Enjoyed the book, It had some quite terrifying moments which made one feel that not every one has a easy life,I must say I am looking forward to this authors next book.
Published 8 months ago by Big Mac
2.0 out of 5 stars Bestial Behaviour
If it is possible to describe a book as `ugly' then `The Wowzer' is most certainly ugly. Perhaps use of the `wowzer' is a clever reference to a child frightening `bogeyman'... Read more
Published 10 months ago by D. Elliott
3.0 out of 5 stars Gratuitous violence.
This is a story mainly about Jerry, a sheriff's deputy who uses extreme violence in pursuing his drug dealing and other criminal activities. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Dave
4.0 out of 5 stars Cracking dark comedy
Jerry had been mentored for the post of Deputy by Sheriff Haskell who needed a special kind of man to help him keep the local drug trafficking trade in order. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Zola fan
2.0 out of 5 stars Paddle faster, I hear police banjos...
I go on holiday in SW Missouri close to the Arkansas border and on the edge of the Mark Twain National forest; Ozark Mountain land, where I often go walking. Read more
Published 17 months ago by John
4.0 out of 5 stars unusual and refreshing
I really enjoyed this; the hero was a very interesting character, sociopathic, a bit stupid but I was quickly rooting for him. Read more
Published 20 months ago by miles
3.0 out of 5 stars Shows Potential
As other reviews have stated, the first person viewpoint of this book, with the protagonist having the strongest of southern burrs can sometimes grate, but I have to say that I... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Mr. M. E. Merritt
1.0 out of 5 stars Didn't get very far
There was a time when I felt guilty if I didn't finish a book. Nowadays I realise that my time is too precious to waste on a book I don't like. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Maggie
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