I read this book last summer, and a more delightful novel to while away those lazy, hazy days you'd be hard pushed to find.
The action centres on a small community in Tucson, Arizona, with the disappearance of a local teenager triggering the plot. However, it's the book's principal characters that keep the reader turning the page - notably 16 year-old Kendra, the muscle-bound young girl with a bizarre grammatical habit (her favourite phrase: "plussing as which") and Merv, the 30 year-old pool attendant that still lives with his mom. These characters are immediately engaging, and for all their oddities and imperfections, it is easy for the reader to empathise with them.
The story itself moves at a measured pace, reflecting the nature of a long, drawn-out summer, while the twists in the plot are wholly believable without being too predictable. If you read his previous novel, Goats, then you'll be impressed by the way Poirier has developed as a great story-teller, with an ability to create some of the most fascinating literary characters around in a setting he has made entirely his own. If you're new to the author, then this is a great place to discover a rare talent.
In short, Modern Ranch Living is a well-written, easy-going novel and yet it manages to grip the reader from start to finish. Highly recommended.