Crime and comedy come together in Rick Gavin’s novel Nowhere Nice, a story that truly speaks for itself. Pitting a vengeful fugitive meth lord against those that aided in his capture, Nowhere Nice finds its main characters hopping all over the Mississippi Delta and the tri-state area towards an inevitable showdown.
Repo man Nick Reid narrates the (mis)adventure with his partner Desmond helping lead the way. Upon learning the hot-blooded meth lord (“that Boudrot”) they helped put away a year ago is on the lam in the Delta, the two round up all those in danger of that Boudrot’s vengeance. As the fugitive hunts down those who did him wrong (leaving a path of blood and destruction along the way), Nick and Desmond form a posse to take him down.
That posse includes an ex-bounty hunter, a bouncer, the bouncer’s uncle, a swamp inhabitant and the lone surviving coonhound of that Boudrot’s massacre on a pack of swamp dogs. Together the six men and Barbara, the coonhound, comb the tri-state area looking for that Boudrot, who has stolen Nick’s Ranchero and his girlfriend Tula to boot.
Along the way, trouble erupts at every stop as the gang roughs it up with everyone they come across. At a cafÃ©, a motor lodge, an ATM, a garage, a steakhouse, a Civil War park; pretty much whenever Desmond stops his Escalade, someone gets into a scrap. Whether it’s wailing on lumberjacks at the ATM, spraying down Memphis hit men in the steakhouse kitchen, or roughing up frat boys at the chicken joint, there’s no shortage of trouble on a mission meant to put an end to it all.
All that action is very readable, particularly the dialogue, and while Nick and Desmond try to keep everyone together, their law enforcement cronies keep on that Boudrot’s track. After wrangling some guns owed to a cross-dressing, forest-dwelling friend of Desmond’s in Alabama, the crew heads to Tuscaloosa to settle the score with that Boudrot.
At a dog swimming beach, the fugitive, the repo men, and Barbara face off while the others raise hell at the local chicken joint, out of harm’s way. Leading into this, the reader might expect this faceoff to be much more climactic than it really is. With all the excitement that it took just to get there, it’s a little bit of a letdown how that Boudrot is captured and Tula is rescued – anti-climactic, almost.
But the journey the repo men and their gang take to bring the fugitive meth lord down is a very readable one. With some salty exchanges and some pretty coarse vernacular, readers beware: this is not a book for children. Its characters (self-proclaimed “white trash” by the narrator) are no paragons of virtue either, as a few of them are not much better than the man they’re after.
Together they have the wildest ride in tracking down the vengeful fugitive. Though it lagged in some places (a shootout at a car garage, getting guns in Alabama), Nowhere Nice redeemed its slower moments with scenes of fast-paced, page-turning action (the motor lodge trouble, the steakhouse rumble). Author Gavin penned this book pretty well and its tale of white trash revenge is good for laughs, thrills, or just an immersion in a story as silly as it is sinister.