Interstate Dreams

Austinite Neal Barrett, Jr., sat down to write a crime novel and mayhem broke out. Interstate Dreams (Mojo Press) — a rollicking caper with a metaphysical twang — could use a little more starch, but it compensates with ace storytelling and charmingly oddball characters. Take Dreamer, the war vet with a metal slug in his skull that shuts down burglar alarms, allowing him to play Robin Hood when the mood strikes. Or stoic Mama Lucy, who rules the Vishnu Jesus Barbecue with an eerily prophetic hand. Barrett's narrative style isn't for everyone, but he's cornering the market on comic genre-bending. by Mike Shea

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