by Patrick DeWitt
Wow, this book is fun yet horrible (my stomach is still churning at some of what happened). The brothers with the last name Sister are hired killers. On the way to kill a man, Eli, who is the first person narrator has second thoughts about their job and employer. I think they will need to make a movie from this one, though I don’t know if I could handle some of the visuals.
The chapters are fairly short, so it is easy to read just one more. The brothers are traveling and meet interesting characters along the way.
Eli is rather large, honest and sentimental and does not seem to be a gun for hire, feared along the West Coast. But he is and he deserves his reputation. What follows are short chapters about their escapades which seems like they have every problem possible, with Charlie unable to pass a saloon without becoming so drunk he is incapacitated the next day. Eli gets bit by a spider and has his own medical emergencies. It is at times ridiculous, hilarious, gross and weird. This book is a lot of fun and goes way too fast.
‘He describes his inaction and cowardice as laziness,’ Charlie said.
‘And with five men dead,’ I said, ‘he describes our overtaking his riches as easy.’
‘He has a describing problem,’ said Charlie. (pg 160)
Their ideas lead them to new adventures with different people, some honest, others not. Everyone, especially the brothers, are out for themselves. They are in California during the gold rush and men are mad with gold fever, or mad from living alone for so long. The characters are memorable and a bit more than nuts. The back of the book someone calls it “cowboy noir” and honestly, I can’t think of a better genre description.
These characters are bad guys, but you like them. You root for them, you hope they will change and you wonder how money can come and go so easily. But it seemed like everyone was either up or down on their luck with alarming regularity. The situations were tough, people die and things are sad yet darkly humorous. I give it 4 gold nuggets so shiny they look like stars.