Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Review: BIG MARIA by Johnny Shaw

Big MariaBIG MARIA is a humorous adventure that bands three unlikely acquaintances together. The novel has some of the funniest and down to earth characters I’ve had the pleasure of reading including, old man Frank saluting death with a middle finger to the sky, Ricky a non conventional beef cake with a heart of gold and muscles of steel, and Harry, the requisite class clown who evolves from a simple minded alcoholic to explorer extraordinaire. Not to mention Franks crazy grandkids and certifiable daughter Mercedes. Throughout the course of the journey the odd bunch develop a real sense of camaraderie and male bonding as flaws hide behind dust, grime and foolish actions.

In this opportunistic treasure-hunt type caper the continued optimism and overall hilarity of the plight to locate long hidden gold within the Chocolate Mountains is refreshing to read – even the violence is laugh out loud funny. Author Johnny Shaw is a master of witty dialogue and punchy punch-lines, I couldn’t contain the odd smirk here and there while reading Harry’s twisted logic or Frank’s grandson’s general marijuana clouded conversation.

Harry, Ricky, and Frank face a myriad of obstacles along their journey with each new encounter further defining the characters themselves as well as providing high entertainment value. BIG MARIA is a book that doesn’t take itself too seriously and that message is well conveyed throughout the course of the novel. The slapstick trio and crazy plot will have the reader in stitches while still managing to portray a more robust and deeper message in the growth of the group and warm heartedness of the unexpected.

I can’t begin to praise the talents of Johnny Shaw enough. Much like DOVE SEASON (though quite a different novel), BIG MARIA will capture your hearts and minds – a must read. 5 stars.

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