Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hill Country by R. Thomas Brown

I think we’ve all had a time in our lives when we were under the silly impression that we were untouchable… better, faster, stronger, meaner. Maybe?  I don’t know.
Back in college I had this 6ft Jamaican track star for a roommate. She was solid muscle. Solid. Her name was… I’ll just call her Gretchen.  And Gretchen had a temper; always knowing just what buttons to push to make you snap. But the trick with Gretchen, though, was keeping your cool.
Oh, who am I fooling? You never kept your cool with Gretchen because you never knew what the heck Gretchen was going to do. She was difficult and mean and she could knock you on your ass with one push if she wanted to.
Well, that’s what she did to me, anyway.
You see, a couple of weeks after Gretchen moved out of the apartment she returned and procured all of the pots and pans and baking dishes from the kitchen. The only person home at the time was a new roommate napping on the couch, unaware of Gretchen’s thieving.  In fact, we were only made aware of the missing items when we tried to make dinner and found that we had no pots to boil water in… or cookies sheets to bake cookies on. Tragic!
We might not have seen Gretchen take the pots and pans, but I knew she did. And even after people told me to leave it be I couldn’t let it go.  So, knowing my neighbor was headed to work in a few minutes and knowing that she worked with Gretchen, I asked her to tell Gretchen to bring the pots and pans back because she had taken some items that didn’t belong to her.
Okay, I may have said something about filing a police report, but my memory somehow escapes me…
What I do remember is Gretchen kicking in our apartment door, pulling me by the hair and smashing my head into the television screen just before dragging me by my flailing arms across the carpet on my knees. There was yelling. And I may or may not have said a few swear words. Eventually someone called the police and Gretchen, the smart little thief she was, left shortly after the sirens could be heard in the distance… leaving me a dazed, confused, bloody, and blubbering mess.
You know, there’s really nothing like the police showing up at your place to collect evidence and take photos of your beat-down to make you feel like a real loser. Or, for Gabriel Hill in Hill Country by R. Thomas Brown, there’s really nothing more troubling than the police coming by to take photos of the dead pedophile on your porch… especially when he's the guy you just got your butt kicked by at the local bar in town.
Now a convenient murder suspect, Gabe quickly finds himself an unwilling participant in the quest for some supposed treasure that his brother Mike had his hands on. But unfortunately for Gabe, Mike is dead, and left in his place are a half dozen or so lively characters that are willing to do whatever it takes to get the one thing they all feel is rightfully theirs.
You would think being confronted with bizarre, sacrificial killings in the woods; threats to get out of town; his brother’s murder; a beautifully dangerous and seductive woman that pops up out of nowhere; a home invasion; a couple of psychopaths that kill for fun; and the incredibly annoying Mr. Greenstreet, that Gabe would have left town while he still had the chance. Not likely.  ‘Cause like me, Gabe Hill is stubbornly smart, and he’s definitely not one to back down from a fight.  But unlike  my fight with Gretchen and those stupid pots and pans, Gabe’s unpredictable fight with lost relationships and madmen shows that he’s better, faster, stronger and meaner than all of them combined… even if he does shed a tear or two in the end.
I found Hill Country by R. Thomas Brown to be a wonderful read and quite different from his other work that I’ve read. While Merciless Pact seemed tinged with darkness with a side of nightmares, Hill Country seemed to be, well, tinged with darkness with a side of fun… as much fun as greed and murder will allow, at least. In Hill Country the characters are suspiciously shady, the dialogue catchy, and the setting so perfectly written that it had me reminiscing of my stroll down the River Walk in San Antonio a couple years back. And it also reminded me of my fight with Gretchen…
Yeah, Gretchen’s body might not have landed on my front porch after our little fight, but I did catch her picking up trash on the side of the road in her bright orange, community service outfit. 

*giggles*  I wonder if she still has those pots and pans…

BIO: R. Thomas Brown writes crime fiction set in Texas. His novel, Hill Country, from Snubnose Press is currently available. You can find his thoughts on fiction, and other matters, as well as information on his short fiction and upcoming novels at

Hill Country is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


Thomas Pluck said...

I'm glad that big bully got her due. I love your stories, and I'm looking forward to Hill Country.

Elizabeth said...

Ah, there is nothing in the world--nothing--like a review by Kate/Sabrina. Great stuff!