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Don't Never Shoot Short    by Kent F. Frates order for
Don't Never Shoot Short
by Kent F. Frates
Order:  USA  Can
Bridgeway, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Oklahoma oil. An unscrupulous robber baron. Sheriffs and cowboy boots and villains on the run. Rundown honky-tonks. One horse towns. Sound like the good old Wild West days?

Nope. It's today in Kent F. Frates' new novel about failing banks and defaulted mortgages, and the attempts of a small town sheriff to ease the tension that is building between radical militants, a simple farmer who wants to hold onto his land, and a greedy banker who forecloses. The latter plans to reap profits from the liquid gold found under that land.

The reader also runs into a petty thief named Crankcase who is accused of murder. There's the spaced out daughter of the greedy banker (who has a picture of an angel tattooed on her ass); a glory-seeking deputy; a judge with a conscience; and a deputy sheriff who wants the best for everyone, and tries to make sure it happens.

It's an absolutely delightful book, incorporating intriguing historical background on Oklahoma and Colorado and, as a bonus, some good poetry. The Ballad of Hattie, the One-legged Whore and its moral is a bit coarse but worth a read. I especially liked I'll Walk to my Funeral. Heck, all the poems struck a note with me. Don't Never Shoot Short is irreverent, fun, philosophical, and a dang good read.

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