One Shoe (Paperback)
When a Gold Rush Is Not Enough
Pump Island Tales, 9780990626497, 400pp.
Publication Date: June 15, 2015
Harry Trout is an ex-con with a lamebrain past and a month left on his parole. His stumbling attempt to get private assays on a gold nugget windfall ignites a viral worldwide media event. Harry's sketchy neighbors in his California Gold Rush village of One Shoe want in on the loot and Harry must fend them off, while still dealing with his opportunistic love-starved landlord, his shady fellow ex-cons, a fledgling ambitious TV reporter, a rifle-toting hermit, an escaped kangaroo, thieves who idolize a Gold Rush bandit named Rattlesnake Dick, Jewell and her .357, and a sheriff's detective who dearly wants to put Harry back on the bus to Folsom Prison. When a gold dealer's body turns up in the whirlpool behind a local dam, detective Tina Kettle prioritizes the local suspects. First on the list is a mountain cult retreat called There, where a guru runs a scam selling time-share vacations in its teepees, and wind chimes to the chumps. To remedy their declining tourism, One Shoe Village and neighboring Spanish Flat stage what they hope will be a visitor goldmine-the Claimjumper Wild West Fest II. It features a race where runners and bikers must carry guns. Claimjumper's quadrathlon descends into a chaotic, snake-infested brawl that ends with flying sheetcake.