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    Review of PRAIRIE GOTHIC by J. M. Hayes


    Poisoned Pen Press, 2003

    Mad Dog, a half Cheyenne self-appointed shaman is only following the wishes of his recently deceased fellow Native American to give him an authentic burial. That's when someone starts taking shots at him. In the meantime, his brother, Sheriff (Englishman) English is called to a nursing home with a report of a kidnapped baby. While a blizzard rages, Englishman needs to find his brother, discover how the baby was killed, and head off an increasingly crazy group of locals.

    Author J. M. Hayes delivers an often funny story that mixes reality and fantasy seamlessly. Mad Dog may really have shaman powers--or maybe he is just disturbed. Dorothy from the nursing home swears by her ruby sneakers--and calls Mad Dog 'the wizard.' Dorothy may know what happened to the body, and even where the baby came from, but does she also know more. Because there are deep secrets in this rural Kansas towns--secrets that go back to nazi Germany and before.

    There are definitely some serious and seriously non-funny sides to this book--including suspected child abuse, abortion, and the destructive conservatism that Hayes finds in small-town Kansas. Still, I suspect that Hayes had a good time writing this book. I certainly had a good time reading it.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 4/03/03

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