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Stray Dogs by John Ridley
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Stray Dogs

by John Ridley

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752160,370 (4.04)10
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    The Cleanup by Sean Doolittle (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Similar in tone, with a protagonist who just can't get a break.
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Stray Dogs by John Ridley could have just as easily be called “A Bad Day Just Keeps Getting Worse”. A loner who has gambling debts to a mobster is on his way back to Vegas with the cash when his car overheats in the middle of the desert. Luckily, or so he thinks, he is on the edge of a small town. He manages to get his car as far as the garage but that’s where his troubles begin.

Spending the day in 108 degree heat, in this tiny, dusty, barren place is bad enough, but the people are strange, cantankerous and downright mean. He thinks things are looking up when he meets the delicious Grace, but events are only going to get shockingly worse.

A quick paced page turner with lots of tension, twists and excitement. The story takes place over the course of one day and is hard to put down once started. I thought this was simply a great noir read and I highly recommend it. ( )
1 vote DeltaQueen50 | Sep 4, 2010 |
The protagonist of Stray Dogs has a knack for making bad life decisions, ones that lead to often having to leave town in a hurry. He's a gambling addict, so he eventually ended up in Las Vegas, settling down with a girlfriend, occasionally paying part of the rent, until an illegal poker game goes bad and he finds himself on the run once again. His car breaks down in the small, dying desert town of Sierra, which is where his luck turns even worse.

Stewart is not a man you would want to have anywhere near you or anyone you love. You probably wouldn't want him near your enemies. He's almost completely amoral, entirely self-absorbed and his language would make a gang member blush. He's also a lot of fun within the pages of a book. His luck is terrible. If a convenience store is being robbed, he'll be inside buying twinkies. If someone has a really bad idea, they'll invite him to participate. Which he will.

The writing is a bit sparse on characterization and nuance, but with so much going on, one barely notices that the characters are almost cartoons.

The truth. This is what telling the truth got him. Truth brings only pain, and heartache, and difficulty. If you care about someone, if you love them, and if you want to spare yourself a little suffering at the same time, then truth has got no place in a relationship and should only be used when a good lie doesn't come quick enough. ( )
  RidgewayGirl | Sep 25, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345413458, Hardcover)

"It's the heat that makes you crazy. I don't know what it is, but it works that way for man and animal alike. I've seen some peculiar things on a hot day too. I've seen a scorpion sting itself to death. It just keeps drivin' its tail into its body again and again. A little killer killing itself. And what a man'll do on a hot day. A man could get his self killed just for rubbing shoulders with another. . . ."

A loner, a drifter, a gambler--John Stewart asks little of life. But when his '64 Mustang busts a radiator hose in the middle of the empty Nevada desert, he prays to God, Buddha, L. Ron. And rolls into the tiny town of Sierra. Where he finds . . . nothing. A gas station whose former owner is lying low in the cemetery. A strip of barren, dust-blown store fronts. A truck stop cafe with more flies than customers.

Stewart wants out. Sucker-punched in a rigged poker game, he's got to get to Vegas to settle a debt. Or else.

Then in walks Grace, a seductive knockout who can read fortunes in faces. In the next twenty-four hours, Stewart becomes ensnared in a web of dirty double-crosses, cold propositions, and desperate souls--deadly ground where murder is just one gasp away.

A stunning, fast-paced novel, Stray Dogs unfolds with unrelenting tension, memorable characters, and shocking twists of plot. John Ridley has created a hypnotic story that is pure noir, from its first page until its shattering climax.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:23 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A penniless gambler who owes money to a gangster is offered blood money by two people--a wife wants a husband killed and the husband wants the wife killed. The offers are tempting, especially as the gangster's henchmen are on the way to collect the debt. The setting is Nevada.… (more)

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