Sunday, 23 December 2018
ERIC BEETNER - RUMRUNNERS (2015)
Smokey and the Bandit meets Justified and Fargo in this violent crime-family saga.
Meet the McGraws. They're not criminals. They're outlaws. They have made a living by driving anything and everything for the Stanleys, the criminal family who has been employing them for decades. It's ended with Tucker. He's gone straight, much to the disappointment of his father, Webb.
When Webb vanishes after a job, and with him a truck load of drugs, the Stanleys want their drugs back or their money. With the help from his grandfather, Calvin-the original lead foot-Tucker is about to learn a whole lot about the family business in a crash course that might just get him killed.
Best book ever? No, but one I really enjoyed. Fast-paced, funny, plenty of action and enough story and characters to carry it through.
We have two families - the Stanleys and the McGraws. The Stanley's are the bosses and the McGraw's are the grunts, doing the heavy lifting, in this case collecting and delivering loads of contraband of whatever description, no questions asked, no interference with the cargo, delivery guaranteed.
Webb McGraw has taken on a job, which in hindsight he should have turned down, picking up a lorry load of pharmaceuticals. A driver he brought in to help with the run has ripped him off and disappeared with the vehicle. Webb himself is scarce. The Stanleys are furious and straight-laced, Tucker McGraw, the man who broke with tradition and his family heritage has just been given an ultimatum - the load back or $10 million in compensation. Tucker, a failed husband and unsuccessful insurance salesman doesn't have a spare 10 mil. Time to call on Grandpa Calvin for a bit of advice.
Calvin, a spunky octogenarian and the original McGraw outlaw driver comes to the rescue. In between consuming copious amounts of beer and dispensing unwelcome marital advice, Calvin and Tucker team up to drive for the Stanleys in an effort to work off the debt while trying to find out what happened to Webb and his load.
Webb's fate soon becomes clear and it's then a case of finding out who was responsible and getting some form of justice for Webb. Our two families are on a collision course.
Family, loyalty, criminality, death, beer, an angry ex-wife, an unhappy teenage son, more beer, an investigation of sorts, a repossessed car with consequences, a late addition to the family business, more than a few close shaves, and an eventual resolution.
Great driving scenes, great humour and dialogue particularly when the bullish Calvin is feeling confrontational, decent characters who bond and grow closer as the book unfolds.
My kind of reading.
4 from 5
I've enjoyed a few from Eric Beetner in the past - White Hot Pistol, The Year I died Seven Times and the co-written Over Their Heads with J.B. Kohl.
I'm looking forward to reading more from him in the future, including the Rumrunners prequel - Leadfoot.
Read in December, 2018
Published - 2015 originally by now defunct 280 Steps, republished by Down and Out Books
Page count - 282
Source - Edelweiss early reviewers site
Format - kindle