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Busted Axle Road by Wes Boyd


A snake crawls out of a bathroom drain, and a woman kills it with her hair dryer . . .  That’s all it takes to set townspeople, media, crooked environmentalists, a country music singer, the federal government and a bunch of dogsledders to getting at each other’s throats. Of course, nothing’s quite normal in Spearfish Lake!

A complete novel

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Listed: Oct 2, 2008


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Catchy voice.

By Donna Sirianni, editor

Dec 13, 2008: I first started reading this story a while ago and even starting it again, I think the voice is a zinger. I don’t know the order Wes wrote his stories in but this one is far superior in pacing, style and voice to his other work that I’ve reviewed, Rocinante. It disappoints me that this same style didn’t carry over into the other story. It would have made it a lot easier to read.

With Busted Axle, it’s a very hometown piece with not too much going on plotwise and you definitely won’t find any fantastical elements in it but I’ve found that the voice and the style it’s written in will propel you forward. I mean, come on, within the first five chapters a woman bludgeons a snake to death with a hair dryer in her own bathtub and then poops herself in the process. Literally. If you have a demented sense of humor like me, you’d want to read on after that one.

The thing is, though, at one point I did read beyond my five chapter review limit not too long ago because the voice had hooked me so, but the want to continue reading faded. It had a tendency to stall out and get stuck in minutiae that was seemingly important to the story but pretty boring to read. Meetings on sewer piping and buying a home for tax reasons and such. Really not very interesting.

And when it got to that point, not even the quirky voice was able to keep me reading forward. Everything that was going on kind of dwindled out and the pacing similar to Rocinante emerged (although with much shorter chapters) and I felt it just got bogged down.

The beginning starts off so strong and so great and fluid and, really, addicting, but it doesn’t last. At least not for me. If Wes were able to maintain that kind of voice and style found within those first few chapters, I would have definitely read through till the end.

The chapters were trim, concise, poignant, said what needed to be said and moved on. That’s why I liked it so much. That and, again, the voice. It was great, rich, full of personality. I really wish it maintained because the story had so much potential. I really wanted to keep reading but if I’m bored with something, I just can’t force myself to keep doing it.

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