by Ben Rehder
Texas game warden John Marlin is called in about a strange-acting deer. It legally belongs to crooked mogul Roy Swank, but it’s his friend’s old pet deer, so he takes it for the night. When the deer is stolen back and his friend sent to the hospital, Marlin knows Swank is hiding something out in his ranch. With the first day of hunting season and a big hunting party approaching, Marlin tries to find out what Swank is up to, but runs up against two greedy hillbillies and a handful of Colombian assassins and is himself held prisoner. Swank is using the deer as drug mules, with a crooked drug-addled vet to get the cocaine out of the deer. But the Colombians are growing impatient, and with only one honest deputy in Blanco County, Marlin has to figure a way out on his own.
This is a fun read, an almost surreal thrill ride in the style of Tim Dorsey and Carl Hiaasen, more interested in humor and mayhem than logic. The idiot hillbilly mercenaries (whose hilarious backstory is given in a late chapter) are shot and bitten by a rattlesnake; corpses are put in trunks and forgotten; an insane ex-husband stalks the Colombian drug lord, sure he is Antonio Banderas; and so on. This is another series worth continuing.