The Reluctant Gunmen: A story of the O.K. Corral and much more, Giovanni Rex

Review Written By
Karen Chisholm

I'm not going to pretend for a moment that I've the slightest idea what's going on with the Inspector Giovanni 'Rex' Matsuko series, of which The Reluctant Gunmen is book number 5 (and I've read a couple of the earlier ones as well).

I'm not even sure I can describe them, except to say it's sort of tongue in cheek, wacky, stream of consciousness stuff told in sort of first person, with shifting timelines and subject matter with no obvious or strong story arc (to my eye at least, but I could be missing something), that gets weirder and weirder in a sort of fun, not quite fun, what the hell is going on way.

I waver between finding them a bit of fun and wondering what I'm doing with my life. Definitely from deep into the YMMV category.

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How many deaths does it take for a country to say enough is enough? Inspector Matsuko has had enough, so has his wife, he needs a holiday, somewhere far away, somewhere benign like New Zealand, but his father-in-law, the author Giovanni Rex has ideas for a new book, it will be about the O.K. Corral but there’s a bunch of cowboys on the lose intent on creating mayhem, stealing from banks, kidnapping dogs, settling old scores. Then they want a shootout, something like the Wild West only they’re headed for a small town in Italy, a traditional town that doesn’t want hamburger bars but would be happy to have the same recognition as Tombstone Arizona. When is enough going to be enough when there’s a sniper with 12 bullets and 12 angry men to deal with? Call in the reluctant gunman, deputise others, when there’s a woman and the law to protect somebody has to put on a tin star.

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