Friday, February 10, 2012

A Single Shot - Under the Microscope


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John Moon is out hunting in the woods (illegally poaching) and trails a wounded deer into a quarry. No escape. When he sees movement, he fires. And then the deer runs out of the trees. From the other direction.

He shoots the deer. But what else did he shoot? Into the trees, he finds a young woman. A dead woman, with his bullet inside her. And he also finds a campsite. And a pile of money. A lot of money.

Moon is down on his luck; poaching is the only reason he's getting by. And now he's poached something new: money. But the body won't stay hidden forever, and the police may come knocking. And the girl wasn't alone. Her friends want the money back, and they ain't the sort of men to take a loss lightly.

Now, that's a pretty damn good premise, and this is a pretty damn good book. Dark, gritty, well-written; the story and premise remind me a little of Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men. Perhaps not quite as good as that masterpiece, but it's interesting to note that A Single Shot was written first, and the line of influence might run from Jones to McCarthy on this occasion.

"Before the sun is up, John Moon has showered, drunk two cups of coffee, and changed into his blue jeans, sweatshirt, and Timberland hiking boots. He has eaten two pieces of toast, a bowl of cereal, and put out food for his wandering dog. Before leaving the trailer by the front door, he gets his 12-gauge shotgun and a handful of slugs from the gun cabinet off the kitchen."

You know the old saying: introduce a gun in act one, you know it has to go off...

4 comments:

Matthew MacNish said...

I haven't read it, but I would have called that quite the coincidence if it hadn't been written first.

maine character said...

This sounds awesome. And hey, you didn't say it had a foreword by Daniel Woodrell. Very cool.

I think it might have been inspired by A Simple Plan, which seems to have come out three years earlier.

Bryan Russell said...

Yeah, Woodrell is amazing. I'll trust his opinion. :)

Lydia Kang said...

It sounds like a thrilling premise! I love the saying about the gun...I think Chekhov is the one that coined that term...