Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Few Days Ago: "Plaster City" by Johnny Shaw

A Few Days Ago: Plaster City by Johnny Shaw, 2014, 9781477817582.

Short: Southern California farmer Jimmy Veeder helps out his friend Bobby when Bobby's teenage daughter goes missing from her home in Indio.

Long: Jimmy has been living and working at the family farm, caring for his half-brother as his own son, and cohabitating with a woman who's name I forgot. He'll go on occassional benders with his alcoholic and self destructive pal Bobby. After one weekend bender, Bobby gets a call that his teen daughter up in Indio is missing.

Bobby has two dauhters with two women and he is a lousy father. Bobby never actually knew about the Indio girl until she was close to her teens. Bobby has a poor relationship with the girl, Julie, and has only halfheartedly kept things going.

Jimmy and Bobby drive to Indio, meet with the mom, and start snooping. They question a ratty boyfriend. Beat up a couple young Hispanic bikers. Find out that Julie has been working as a bare knuckle brawler for internet videos. Then things get weird and dangerous.

Bobby has poor impulse control. Bobby has very poor impulse control. Bobby tends to shoot off his mouth and swing his fists without much thought. Jimmy is loyal to Bobby but this adventure is causing some strain. Jimmy needs to be at home with his 4-year-old and live-in girlfriend.

More things happen with recurring characters from book #1, Dove [something or other]. It's a decent read but Shaw's novel Big Maria was so dang good that this fails to meet that peak.

1. Southern California working stiffs and cheap beer.
2. Mexican crime lord who freely admits his cruelty and murderous ways.
3. Protagonists in over their (sometime empty) heads.
4. True life depictions of people. There are no happy endings and lovey-dovey reunions between Bobby and his runaway, no goodnick daughter.
5. Somewhat unrealistic depictions of teen girl runaways electing to stay for a while with Bobby's ex-drunk father.
6. Desert living! What a life! Abandoned cars! Cookie cutter suburbs! Irrigation dependent farming! Crooked Border Patrol!
7. Model rocketry love.

1 comment:

Mathew Paust said...

Model rocketry love--I knew there 'd be something to like about this book! ;)