Thursday, October 06, 2011 Posted by Dina N
Sam Bonham — bad husband, deadbeat dad, and possible criminal on the run from the law — wanders out of modern-day East Texas into an ersatz Wild West boomtown created for a movie that never happened. And when Sam strikes a blow against the gangsters who've been terrorizing the town, the locals look to him to save them. He's no hero, but he's stumbled upon someone who is: John Wayne. But the John Wayne of this story is not the stalwart lawman of Hollywood films — he's a seventy-two-year-old man who had himself cryogenically frozen. He's weak, bald, frail… and unrecognizable to everyone but Sam.
In The Duke's "defrosted" state, he's not entirely himself. In fact, he believes he's actually Ethan Edwards, the character he played in The Searchers, one of Wayne's most beloved films. Ethan or Duke or Marion Morrison, at his side Sam learns how to be a man, and a hero — and a pretty good shot! As he takes on the Old West gang of thugs, he finds that he might have become a family man at last. But back in the real world, someone has his eye on Sam's wife, and if Sam doesn't get back soon, the results could be devastating.
I don't read many westerns but I made an exception for Thawed Out and Fed Up. The book is an interesting mix of a modern western and a story of redemption, with a good dose of make-believe thrown in. Sam, the unlikely hero of Thawed Out and Fed Up, has failed at just about everything he's ever done. He is a drunk, a gambler, and a no-good husband and father who has walked out on his family. In an attempt to win back his estranged wife and son, Sam returns to his house only to drink himself into a stupor and wake up the next day, covered in someone else's blood and with no memory of what happened. To avoid prison, Sam heads to Mexico - and on the way, stumbles upon an Old West town, complete with cruel villains and terrorized townsfolk. He also happens to release John Wayne from his 30-year cryogenic slumber. Together, they may just save the town - or die trying.
I found Thawed Out and Fed Up quite entertaining in a slightly weird way. The author, Ryan Brown, is a former film and television actor and the author of Play Dead, a thriller set in the world of Texas high school football. If you are looking for a good ol' fashioned western, check out Gene Hackman's Payback at Morning Peak. There must be some new trend with actors turning into writers of westerns...
Thawed Out and Fed Up is new this week from Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster.
Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation was obtained for this post. Photo and book info courtesy of the publisher or PR firm.