“Mustard’s Last Stand” is a mystery/romance/little-man-against-corporate-big-guys theatrical comedy that made me feel I was on an out-of-control merry-go-round.
For example, in the first third of the book I met a fired security officer seeking a redneck shoplifter; a burned-out screenwriter home to rescue his environmentalist brother; four pregnant women trying to refurbish a pizza parlor into a rescue home; a shrimpy money-hungry entrepreneur; a con man posing as a preacher; and various other miscreants and misfits, all converging on Hancock, Idaho.
My only thought was, “How is Ms. McIntosh going to bring all of this together as a believable story?” More amazing still is the sleight of hand she employs to pull it off.
The story is set in the tiny North Idaho town of Hancock, which is in danger of becoming a yuppy back-to-nature paradise when entrepreneur Naismith proposes opening a hunting safari for rich hunters. The town’s denizens are evenly divided between welcoming the proposed income coming to their depressed little town and openly defiant of a big-game business that some say amounts to shooting fish in a barrel and will destroy the environment.
Kathy McIntosh shows an edginess in her writing in creating wackos who are sympathetic characters by reining them in just shy of repulsive — a great balancing act that keeps you trying to decide if you like this guy or not.
It’s definitely a fun read, and she plans more books featuring this oddball cast. That’s a good thing because, looking back, none of the relationships in the book got settled, so we have their resolutions to look forward to.
My Rating: Go for it. You’ll get a kick out of reading it.