Brandon introduces his main characters gradually in his quirky debut about a bunch of rootless drifters who form an unstable drug-distribution network in Arkansas: Swin Ruiz, who pulls his first scam before dropping out of college; Kyle Ribb, a shoplifter who stumbles on a job as a courier; and mysterious Ken Hovan (aka "Froggy" or "Frog"), who begins with bootleg tapes but graduates to run the shadowy organization. Tangential characters include a middleman, Pat Bright, who oversees Swin and Ruiz in their nebulous and phony cover jobs in a state park, and a black woman known only as "Her," who passes packets and instructions to the couriers. As Swin and Kyle try to puzzle out how to survive in a crumbling organization, their futile attempts to create some semblance of a normal life evoke only pathos. Not evil as such, these unsympathetic people simply fall into a rut that leads inevitably to violence and death. (Mar.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Brandon's first novel details the grim misadventures of two young drug runners, Kyle and Swin. With boss Pat Bright, they work for a mysterious man named Frog out of a neglected Arkansas state park, as dead bodies pile up in more and more gruesome ways. Bright, whose past is littered with despicable activities, suffers a ghastly death at the hands of Nick, the nephew of a drug customer. After Kyle kills Nick, they dump his body in a swamp and take charge of Bright's operation. The only positive influence in their lives is Swin's girlfriend, Johnna, a nurse who adds a woman's touch to their dumpy trailer. After Johnna gets pregnant, Swin realizes there is no future in what they've been doing and dreams of something better. But as Kyle says, the world has no intention of offering them worthwhile lives, and the distressing conclusion bears him out. Some readers may have difficulty with the violence-others may not care about the misfits crowding out the story-but this uncomfortable book will find an audience in most large public libraries.
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