We were primed to meet Rick Gavin on Wednesday, November 9. His debut novel, Ranchero, published earlier this month, is set in the Delta. Lisa had read an advance copy and was excited by Gavin’s “keen perception and gritty humor,” as she wrote in Dear Reader. Randy Wayne White called the book “a kick-ass, backcountry novel.” We thought that Gavin, described on the book jacket as a Sheetrocker and who clearly is either from or at some point has lived in the Delta, might be the next Larry Brown or Lewis Nordan.
Imagine our surprise when, at the scheduled time of the event, T. R. Pearson, who was to accompany Gavin, his friend and apparently something of a protégée, showed up alone. He explained that as they were headed out of town Gavin, who’d had a rough night before and was “green around the gills,” had to stop at the grocery store “for a quart of milk.” When Pearson got back to the car, he found Gavin unconscious in a shopping cart in the Kroger parking lot, and ultimately was forced to leave Gavin behind.
Pearson did an admirable job presenting Gavin’s book and told us how they had met – in a convenience store. A nice crowd was disappointed not to meet Gavin, but the event was successful never the less.
Ranchero was featured in the November 12, 2011, Wall St Journal review, which called the book “irresistible,” and a “gritty, earthy, and often hilarious debut crime novel. Ranchero has the humor of a tall tale told by Mark Twain, but beneath its comic bravado is hard knowledge of what the locals are up against.”
A limited number of signed copies remain available. We look forward to reading more work by Rick Gavin, and hope to see him at Square Books with his second novel.