2013 Anthony Award Winner
Imagine Chuck Palahniuk and Don Winslow’s love child—and that would be ribald author Johnny Shaw. His novel Big Maria is an unfiltered, wild romp in which three men get one chance to find a lost gold mine; the only problem is the Big Maria Mine is right in the middle of a US Army artillery range.
There’s gold in them thar hills—or more precisely, in Arizona’s Chocolate Mountains, where one hundred years ago a miner stashed a king’s ransom of the stuff. But times have changed. The world has changed. And now the Chocolate Mountains are the home of the largest military artillery range in the world.
Harry’s living on disability and getting liquored up and beaten down. Frank’s a feisty old-timer battling cancer and a domineering daughter. And Ricky’s a good kid in a bad spot, doing everything for family. Together they’re staking what little they have left on a dangerous quest to the Big Maria Mine—and the gold that can offer them a new beginning.
Unfortunately a meth-dealing biker wants a piece, a trigger-happy AWOL soldier wants to play chicken in a live minefield, two stubborn burros want to go home, a starving mountain lion wants his dinner, and the US Army wants to rain on our heroes’ parade with real bombs.
When you’re all out of crazy ideas, you’ve got to try the stupid ones.
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"I read this while I was visiting Texas. Finished in maybe three sittings. Loved it. Such a dude's tale. The prose was quick and hilarious, not to mention the insane and surreal set pieces. When it comes to the Johnny Shaw Canon, I still find myself preferring "Dove Season", but this book was the perfect hold over until the next Jimmy Veeder Fiasco. Like the best kind of Mexican food, Big Maria goes down spicy and meaty but doesn't stick around for too long. I swear that's a complement!!!"
AJ (5 out of 5 stars)