Book Review: Ranchero by Rick Gavin (with the Perfect Cast for the Movie Adaption)
Minotaur Books, 272 pages, 2011
Ranchero is the story of a repo man, a repo gone bad and the calypso coral Ford Ranchero that gets caught in the middle. Nick Reid is on what he expects to be a routine job trying to get payment for a television when things go sideways on him and Percy Dwayne Dubois makes off with the TV in question as well as the immaculate Ranchero that Nick had borrowed from his landlady Pearl. With the help of his fellow repo man Desmond, Nick treks across the Mississippi Delta picking up an oddball assortment of swamp rats and ne'er-do-wells as he goes, all to rescue the car that was the pride and joy of Pearl's late husband, Gil.
With equal parts laid back thrills and low-key comedy, it is a story that is compelling from start to finish as author Rick Gavin takes readers for a joyride down the back roads of the Delta. To help him track down Percy Dwayne, Nick recruits Luther Dubois, Percy Dwayne's uncle. If having to deal with these two malcontents is not bad enough, Nick soon finds himself also encumbered with Eugene and Tommy, a couple of Delta swamp rats who cannot keep from arguing with one another about such important topics as the best type of bait to use when fidhing for catfish or which of them is the better, more satisfying lover to the Delta ladies, several of whom are shared conquests.
In many ways, the plot to Ranchero may seem simple, but the beauty of the story is in the characters. Just as the book's protagonist develops a little bit of a liking for the useless riff-raff he picks up on his journey, so does the reader begin to feel maybe these aren't such bad fellows after all. But like Nick, we readers will never admit it, especially to ourselves.
This book would make such a great movie, I decided to Hollywood a favor and go ahead and cast the film for them. Here are my suggestions...