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Mad Dogs / Brian Hodge

thhodge01.gifCemetery Dance Publications / October 2007
Reviewed by: Martel Sardina

Getting married is dangerous business, especially for actor Jamey Shepard. Jamey’s road trip from LA to Phoenix, where his impending nuptials are to occur, should be nothing more than a relaxing, leisurely drive. Instead, a stop for gas turns deadly when an overzealous cop mistakes Jamey for Duncan MacGregor, the real-life criminal Jamey portrayed on a recent episode of the TV crime series American Fugitives.

Jamey flees the scene and contacts his agent, Sherry Van Horn. He plans to turn himself in but wants to have a lawyer before he does, because if the other cops are anything like the one he just encountered, he’ll be surrendering to a lynch mob. Sherry assures Jamey that she will retain a lawyer to help him clear up this mess. All Jamey has to do now is go to the nearest police station and end this nightmare. With any luck, he can still be reunited with his fiancée, Samantha, in time for their wedding.

Unfortunately, the only luck Jamey finds from this point on is bad luck. Two amateur bounty hunters find Jamey before he can turn himself in and are trying to figure out how to best profit from his capture.

Now that Jamey’s life is starting to look more and more like Duncan MacGregor’s, a phenomenon is occurring back in Hollywood. There is an inverse relationship between Jamey’s misfortune and the amount of money people are willing to pay to for the rights to his story. Jamey’s newfound infamy leaves one question unanswered: will Jamey be able to stay alive long enough to cash in?

Hodge takes the reader on a roller coaster ride, navigating the twists and turns through both Jamey’s eyes and the enriched point of view of the supporting characters. The seamless transitions captivate the reader and keep the story moving forward at a steady pace. Even when Jamey has a moment to catch his breath, Hodge never gives the reader the opportunity to lose interest. Hodge leaves each scene and each chapter with unanswered questions and promises yet to be fulfilled. By the novel’s end, Hodge delivers the answers and a satisfying resolution. Hodge also manages the hard task (in a work of this length) of neatly tying up all of the loose ends.

These days, crime novels that top the 300-page mark are becoming a rarity. The mainstream publishing houses are unwilling to take risks on epic novels. Fortunately for readers, Cemetery Dance had the foresight to take a chance on Hodge’s latest gem. Readers who invest the time in reading Mad Dogs will not leave their reading chairs disappointed.

Purchase Brian Hodge’s Mad Dogs.

Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 at 09:27AM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

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