“The harsh, foreboding essence of rural Texas dominates Cook’s bloody, bittersweet debut novel, charting the adventures of two criminal drifters and their pursuer. From the disturbing opening scene in which Eddie and Ray Bob kill a convenience store clerk, the “running buddies” lash their way across Texas, shooting gas station attendants and shopkeepers and stealing small amounts of money and food.
“Young and broke, Eddie is an aspiring blues guitarist, baffled by the violence of Ray Bob, a natural predator for whom killing is not just a thrill but a calling. The boys’ aimless adventure eventually includes Della, a woman who patterns her life on women’s magazines and desperately aspires to middle-class respectability.
“While hiding out in a rundown beach house near Galveston… a crafty Texas Ranger, Rule Hooks, picks up their scent. Hooks, a tracker by training and instinct, relies on modern police methods as well as his gut instincts to sniff out his prey.
“Cook’s plot tumbles from scene to scene with jarring brilliance, the pathos of his characters lending his otherwise brutal world a certain beauty. His imagery is striking, almost lyrical…
“This gritty crime drama is not for the faint of heart, but Cook’s prose sets it a notch above many like novels. The publisher compares the book to the work of James Lee Burke; if booksellers push that comparison, or if they aim the title at a hip, youthful readership, it could make out like a bandit.”