BOOK REVIEW: Nate Granzow’s ZIMBABWE HUSTLE

I apologize for being out of contact. I lost myself in my writing much more than I thought and never got around to blogging. I plan on using December (my editing and planning month) to double down on that.

This blog post is brought to you by Amazon. Specifically, it is Amazon’s asinine policy that authors cannot review each other’s works and removing any reviews from authors linked to each other that has motivated this post.

While I understand not wanting to allow reviews from people who clearly haven’t read the work and may be trying to unfairly influence the author, positively or negatively, it is an absolute crock that I cannot provide an objective review of a fellow author simply because I am also an author or that they are my friend.

So, screw Amazon. I’ll be posting my review here.

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Nate Granzow and I on our “Shooters & Thieves” book tour in Des Moines, IA, circa August 2017

And yes, full disclosure: I know Nate Granzow. I consider him to be one of my closest friends. That does not alter how I view his latest book, Zimbabwe Hustle. If it were bad, I wouldn’t promote it on any of my social media platforms.

The truth of the matter (and something I’m not sure I’ve told Nate) is that Nate will come up with these ideas which my conventional thriller brain cannot process.

A story about an Air Force support type working with an intelligence operative to stop a modern-day Nazi plot? I wouldn’t write it. Nate did, and he killed it.

A novel series about an everyman journalist that can’t fight his way out of a wet paper bag, much less fire a gun? Definitely not my wheelhouse. I ascribe to the school of MOAR DAKKA. Guess what? Nate killed that, too.

So, when he pitched the idea of a comedy crime caper novel, part of me was naturally skeptical. But, he’d proven me wrong enough times that I knew to trust in Granzow.

Boy, did he deliver!

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The review follows:

Most authors find a niche and stick with it, and there is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, they’ll experiment outside of the genre for which they are known, but most authors know what they are good at writing and keep to that. It’s a rarer author that displays versatility and ventures out of their genre or subgenre. They exist (Stephen King is one that comes to mind, with works spanning several genres), but they’re certainly not the norm.

Nate Granzow is a criminally underrated author who has done geopolitical thrillers (the Cogar Adventure series), archeological thrillers (the award-winning Phaistos Paragon), historical thrillers (The Scorpion’s Nest) and even sci-fi horror (Hekura).

With Zimbabwe Hustle, Granzow tries his hand at literary comedy, and he proves that he is a master of capturing schadenfreude.

The novel centers around a big-game hunting guide name Gabriel McCollough, a Scotsman prone to embellishment; and his nephew, Callum Bailey, a one-time stuntsman who now relegates himself to menial work in a zoo. In the wake of the controversy surrounding the trophy killing of Cecil the Lion, McCollough concocts a seemingly brilliant money-making scheme: use Bailey’s zoo access to tranquilize big game and photograph would-be hunters next to the sleeping beasts. The hunters get to feel manly with photos to support their stories, and no animals are actually hurt.

The plan quickly goes off the rails when McCollough’s and Bailey’s first client is trampled by a poorly tranquilized elephant, and their plan to dispose of the body and cover up the death fail spectacularly.

Zimbabwe Hustle‘s colorful cast also involves a trio of street hoodlums, an Australian bounty hunter, a Yakuza enforcer and his senile oyabun, a black market entrepreneur that utilizes a mobility scooter, a cunning nymphomaniac widow, and an exotic dancer pursuing her law degree.

How does such an eclectic group of characters all come together?

You’ll have to read it to find out.

Zimbabwe Hustle is another Granzow hit, one that will leave you laughing at the preposterous circumstances, snickering at the sharp and witty dialogue, and generally taking humorous pleasure at the misfortune of McCollough and Bailey. In short, schadenfreude in the palm of your hands.

Highly recommended!

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