W. Bruce Cameron — The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man

I love a book that can make me laugh and this is one of them. Ruddy McCann, the repo man, is an ex-jock, grumpy, big-hearted man. Besides spending his nights chasing down automobiles for the banks, he also helps his sister run a bar, which is about to fail.

Ruddy has a strange and vivid dream about being shot and dying followed by a voice in his head that won’t leave, who turns out to be the man who was killed in the dream. Of course, he has to find out who did it and why. But it’s not easy when the murder happened eight years earlier. To complicate things, Ruddy meets his mind-visitor’s daughter and falls for her.

The story is full of imagination, action, and laughter. The characters range from tough yet gentle, guilt-ridden Ruddy, who bounces through life with his dog, not caring about appearances or keeping his home tidy, to Alan Lotimer who literally occupies his mind. Lotimer is almost obsessively neat and not inclined to confrontation, of which Ruddy’s life is full. There are other interesting and quirky characters —Ruddy’s sister, who is trying to keep the bar afloat and make it into a family restaurant, Ruddy’s boss, who thinks Ruddy is suffering from “repo madness,” Kermit, who Ruddy is trying to teach the repo business and who is probably smart but doesn’t have much common sense… and more.

It’s a fun read with a good plot, good characters, lots of laughs, and even a lovable if lazy dog. I will look for more books by this author.

Lou Berney — The Long and Faraway Gone

This novel is two separate stories about two separate people in the same time and place (Oklahoma City, 2012), who are on torturous journeys into their past lives.

Julianna received word that “a person of interest” in her sister’s disappearance is in town. Julianna was twelve when her sister disappeared. It starts her down the path she thought she had abandoned of trying to find out what became of her sister 25 years earlier.

Wyatt, a private investigator from Las Vegas returns to his hometown on a case. He left 25 years ago at the age of fifteen. Returning to Oklahoma City stirs memories and questions about an incident which still haunts him. Six people were murdered in a robbery of the movie theater where he worked. He was the only person in the theater left alive that night.

The book alternates between the two characters and two times (1986 and 2012). It’s almost two novels wrapped into one with various plots and subplots. Very unusual and very well written, it kept my interest from beginning to end.