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Big Maria by Johnny Shaw save 89%

There’s gold in them thar hills - or more precisely, in Arizona’s Chocolate Mountains, where one hundred years ago a miner stashed a king’s ransom of the stuff. But times have changed.

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There’s gold in them thar hills - or more precisely, in Arizona’s Chocolate Mountains, where one hundred years ago a miner stashed a king’s ransom of the stuff. But times have changed. The world has changed. And now the Chocolate Mountains are the home of the largest military artillery range in the world.

Harry’s living on disability and getting liquored up and beaten down. Frank’s a feisty old-timer battling cancer and a domineering daughter. And Ricky’s a good kid in a bad spot, doing everything for family. Together they’re staking what little they have left on a dangerous quest to the Big Maria Mine - and the gold that can offer them a new beginning.

Unfortunately a meth-dealing biker wants a piece, a trigger-happy AWOL soldier wants to play chicken in a live minefield, two stubborn burros want to go home, a starving mountain lion wants his dinner, and the US Army wants to rain on our heroes’ parade with real bombs.

When you’re all out of crazy ideas, you’ve got to try the stupid ones.
Imagine Chuck Palahniuk and Don Winslow’s love child - and that would be ribald author Johnny Shaw. His novel Big Maria is a unfiltered, wild romp in which three men get one chance to find a lost gold mine; the only problem is the Big Maria Mine is right in the middle of a US Army artillery range.
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Big Maria (fiction)
Johnny Shaw (Author)
customer reviews (Yes)
Print List Price: £8.99
Kindle Price: £0.99
You Save:
£8.00 (89%)
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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Reviews from Amazon: 

If you are squeamish, don't like descriptions of body fluids, or swearing, this book isn't for you.

If you like rollicking adventure yarns with flawed desperadoes, pot-heads, donkeys, seniors on drugs, North American Indians, old lags and drunk soldiers, you'll probably love it.

Stay just on the side of possible, if not entirely plausible, Shaw creates an image of the South which draws you nicely into the viewpoint of his lead characters, mostly forgotten, ignored or reviled bt society. Convinced that they must make their own luck, they set off to find an abandoned gold mine in the middle of a live army range. Chaos, adventure and fun are the result.
Second novel from Johnny Shaw. Must be honest and say I was really looking forward to another 'Jimmy Veeder' tale to carry on from Shaw's first novel 'Dove Season' which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. However, not to be and Mr Shaw gives us new characters to get involved with, and like 'Dove Season' it is possible to get tied up with the characters that Shaw portrays with all their faults and human weaknesses. No spoilers from me, but again, as with Shaw's first book I must warn potential readers there is an awful lot of bad language, some graphic violence and pretty disgusting scenes involving human bodies in various stages of death and decomposition.

The setting - Arizona's Chocolate Mountains, former gold mining territory, now the biggest artillery and bombing range in the world belonging to the U.S. Military.

The Goal - a shed-load of gold rumored to have been stashed away in a mine named 'Big Maria' over a hundred years ago.

The Home Team (the good guys?):

Harry - living on disability payments and drinking most of it. A disabled drunk!
Frank - has cancer, cardiac problems and a dominating, control freak daughter.
Ricky - younger than the others, a good kid trying to do right for his family. Operative word being 'trying' as half the lawyers in Arizona are trying to crawl up his backside.

The Away Team (the baddies?)

A Hell's Angel type biker with a thriving Meth business.
A soldier, with a very itchy trigger finger, AWOL from Uncle Sam's army and who thinks everyone should play 'Chicken' with him.
The U.S. Army who like to lob huge high explosive shells and bombs into the mountains, keeping everyone on their toes and suitably stressed out dodging the explosions..

The first few pages may turn your stomach a little but after that the slick Johnny Shaw dialogue takes over, snappy, cool with enough cynicism and humour that kept me turning the more than 370 pages until the end. Based on the classic themes of treasure, treachery, gold lust and trying to achieve the impossible I enjoyed it immensely and forgive Shaw for not coming up with Jimmy Veeder part two.

When you have tried all the really crazy ideas, then you start to put the stupid ones into operation! Just the sort of adventure that appeals to a lot of us so give it a read, well worth the time and trouble!

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