I don’t like Westerns, never have, but when I seen the title of this book “The Hawkline Monster” a Gothic Western by Richard Brautigan I had to pick it up.
This is Brautigan’s fifth novel and would seem it is widely regarded as his best.
Greer and Cameron are professional killers and their services have been called on by a young, beautiful Indian girl called Magic Child. She escorts them back to a massive yellow house in the centre of the Dead Hills of Eastern Oregon. The house standing in the middle of the desert is surrounded by snow and ice, its here we meet Miss Hawkline. Miss Hawkline is the daughter of a scientist who has disappeared at the hands of the Hawkline Monster, and although it has never been seen, it must be killed!
The book is 142 pages long and you could destroy it in a single sitting if you felt like it. Its laid out into very short, straightforwardly written sketches that can almost come over like poetry in parts. Now just because its written directly doesn’t mean that there is no detail, the description of surroundings and places is done vividly and your imagination does the rest. You get the feeling that our two main characters don’t like to say much and when they do say something, they say what needs to be said.
There is weirdness and wit by the bucket load, the setting and circumstances are inherently weird, as if they have always been that way, and the characters simply accept them. Furthermore its funny, I found myself chuckling and grinning like a right dick from time to time.
Because the book is so short I actually found myself slowing down towards the end, simply because I didn’t want it to end. I don’t think I could give it higher praise than that.
I would absolutely recommend this book if you like twins, sex, guns, swearing, monsters, cowboys and if you want to read something totally unique you’ve found it.
The voyage from San Francisco to Hawaii had been the most terrifying experience Greer and Cameron had ever gone through, even more terrible than the time they shot a deputy sheriff in Idaho ten times and he wouldn’t die and Greer finally had to say to the deputy sheriff;
“Please die because we don’t want to shoot you again”.
And the deputy sheriff had said, “Ok, I’ll die, but don’t shoot me again”.
“We won’t shoot you again”, Cameron had said.
“Ok, I’m dead”, and he was.