By Brian Hodge
Brian Hodge Layers Crime Novel with Philosophy (if you look for it)
When Jamey Sheppard pulls into a remote Stop-n-Gulp, he has no idea the drive to his imminent wedding is about to go terribly wrong. Jamey’s last acting job was portraying wanted fugitive Duncan MacGregor for a TV re-enactment on one of those crime shows. But the boozed-up deputy who mistakes Jamey for the real MacGregor doesn’t want his autograph – he wants a bust. While frisking Jamey, a freak accident occurs and the cop shoots himself dead. Almost before he knows it, Jamey’s on the run for real, wanted for the deputy’s murder. The whole world’s watching and turning Jamey into a star, if he can only survive. For unfortunately, it’s not just the police who are on his trail, but also a dysfunctional family of criminal opportunists, a revenge-driven friend of the dead cop, the real sword-wielding outlaw Duncan (who wants to meet his alter ego), and some rather incompetent but motivated hitmen sent by… but why spoil it for you? There’s more to this zany novel than its surface action. It’s a serio-comic road caper that screams nihilistic existentialism from every page while poking society for its cult of news and infotainment (and the blurred lines between them), short attention spans, and greed culture. Hodge’s work (World of Hurt, Wild Horses, The Darker Saints) is always deeper than it seems, here recalling Bradley Denton’s Laughin’ Boy when examining how television and the media tend to shape our realities.