Bluetick Revenge Review
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As a favor for his friend and former law partner, Matt Simms, Pepper Keane agrees to steal a champion bluetick coonhound from the heavily-guarded home of Thad Bugg, leader of the notorious biker group, the Sons of Satan. Once he’s got the hound, Pepper figures that his job is done—but it’s only beginning.

The hound belongs to Karlynn Slade, Bugg’s common-law wife, who agreed to work with the FBI before she took $300,000 in cash and disappeared. Karlynn is in government protection, but she’s getting bored—so Matt asks Pepper to keep an eye on her and her dog until the FBI can get her set up in the Witness Protection Program. But then she disappears—leaving the cash and the dog behind—and Pepper decides that it’s up to him to find her before Bugg (or the FBI) does.

Meanwhile, Bugg has also hired Pepper to find Karlynn—and the dog—which only manages to make things even more complicated. As Pepper tries to hunt down Karlynn—all the while keeping the FBI and the Sons of Satan away—he also comes across a few other clues that could help him find answers to a long-unsolved murder that’s been haunting Pepper for years.

I’ll admit that I was a bit skeptical when I first picked up Bluetick Revenge. It seemed a little more…redneck…than my usual tastes. But I was pleasantly surprised by Pepper Keane (who first appeared in Cohen’s The Fractal Murders). He’s almost as much fun as Kinky Friedman—though a little less outrageous and irreverent and a little more philosophical. Pepper, the ex-Marine and ex-lawyer, living out in the mountains in Colorado, surrounded by hippies, has the right amount of tough-guy mixed with the right amount of armchair philosopher (he’s read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance more times than he can count). And the story, filled with biker-gang criminals and murderous skinheads, may be adventurous and often violent, but Cohen manages to add just the right amount of humor to keep it light and fast-paced. The story itself may not be the most cohesive, jumping from one case to another, sometimes dropping a few pieces and adding a few others along the way, but it’s a fast-moving, entertaining read—and I look forward to reading more about Pepper in the future.

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