Saturday 19 November 2011

Review: Fistful of Reefer - David Mark Brown

Series: Reeferpunk #1
Genre: Dieselpunk
Pages: 357, ebook
Published: July 2011
Review by Lis

The year is 1918. Chancho Villarreal and his Native American friends, Muddy and Nena, live a quiet life on their goat ranch and marijuana farm north of Del Rio, Texas. But when ghosts from Chancho's revolutionary past combine with local panic over stories of the demon El Chupacabra, the three friends inadvertently draw the attention of Texas Ranger, T.J. McCutchen. 

McCutchen has made it his personal crusade to prevent the little known intoxicant, marijuana, from corrupting his borderlands, despite the dark secret that he depends on its medicinal properties to control his seizures. When he discovers the remains of the marijuana field his worst fears are confirmed — the drug is being grown in Texas soil. 

To stay ahead of McCutchen's brutal brand of justice Chancho, Muddy and Nena, are forced to pack up all their worldly possessions, including their marijuana harvest and herd of goats. What follows is an action-packed ride across the wilds of a weird-west, dieselpunk Texas haunted by rumors of El Chupacabras behind every bush.

Well hell… this was something different alright and that coming from the girl who recently read the most disturbing book in my reading career!  Not only does this author take elements we don’t often get to see, he creates a unique story with them too. I have to admit that I was browsing a bookstore; I would never have picked this up. That’s the beauty of review books, you read stories you’d normally never read. Sometimes that’s a bad thing, but in this case it’s good. 

This story is about Chancho, a Mexican, Nena, his wife and Kickapoo Native American and Muddy an African American man. They are a sort of family together and own a marihuana farm along with goats. The antagonist in this story – depending on the way you see it – is Texas Ranger T.J. McCutchen. He is the law and very strict about the rules. Even if he bends them a little for himself. Can you guess where this is going?

No you can’t! Trust me. Every time I thought I had a grasp on the story something else happens. At time I found it a bit preposterous and well weird, but it fit the story. I especially loved the Diesel Punk elements, but that’s an acquired taste. 

It’s an action packed story and that’s where the strength lies. The characters are also not half bad, but they are an acquired taste and you have to like them! Especially Chancho and McCutchen. They all have a certain amount of wickedness to them and never quite are what they seem. 

It’s hard to really explain this book, because it was so different, yet likable. I found myself enjoying the story and if you really want to know about this story, all I can tell you is to pick it up for yourself!


  1. Never heard of Diesel Punk before, but I don't think I am going to like it anymore than Steampunk. But glad you liked the story Lis.

  2. Seeing the Diesel Punk label I thought I mispronounced. As I like Steampunk I would try this as well. I agree -the premise is definitely original, I've never read a book in which main characters grew marihuana before... a very nice review, thanks!

    That’s the beauty of review books, you read stories you’d normally never read.

    Hear, hear, dear Lis! I can say roughly the same! Blodeuedd made me read even fluffy romances and surprise, surprise, some of them were actually good! You made me read erotica once and it wasn't totally bad either!

  3. Dieselpunk sounds like a funky genre. Nice review.

  4. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'm still getting used to steampunk, so dieselpunk is something totally new to me. I must do some research.

  5. I have never heard of this book but from your review it sounds surprisingly good. It is always nice when you read a book you are not expecting to like and really enjoy it!


  6. Hm... I think I'm optimistically cautious. I always fear that it turns out to be racially bound into caricatures. While sometimes it works and speaks to more than what seems to be there, other times it is just a reinforcement of the caricatures. However, your enthusiasm makes me much more inclined to try it!

  7. Thank you Lis for the review :)

  8. Aurian
    You and me both! Must be lots of punk around

    *blink blink*
    I understand

    Aye, I made you like fluffy HEAs, I am so proud of myself. Applauds please everyone

    Lol, yes funky for sure

    I hear there is cyberpunk out there too, so I wonder what more can be found

    Hear hear :)

    And now I forgot what I was supposed to say

  9. Thank you, Lis for the review! I'm so glad you liked the book and found it to be new and refreshing. I had a blast writing the book as it came forth and not worrying about what sort of genre rules I would need to follow.

    For the rest of you, I wouldn't make judgements about dieselpunk from my story. While that was the closest sort of discriptor I could find (that or Weird Western) it doesn't fit real tightly as a dieselpunk story either.

    I guess it is an adventure story with sensational elements and close friends that takes place in the past on horseback and pokes around in race issues and border/immigration stuff...

    Is there a shelf for that?
    Thanks again for the review. I'm wrapping up the second in the series now. The Austin Job should be available by Christmas.

  10. Not sure about this, but loved your review!

  11. Aye, I made you like fluffy HEAs, I am so proud of myself. Applauds please everyone

    I beg to differ here: you certainly couldn't have made me LIKE fluffy HEAs. I might read a fluffy romance and I might admit it is good, all things considered, but a HEA ending is usually something I dispute. You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink...and I am a bit more devious than a horse. ;)

  12. It really doesn't sound like my kind of story but I enjoyed your review. I particularly liked, "Can you guess where this is going? No you can’t! Trust me."

    Though I have to say, that's a great cover and title.

  13. Well, that is certainly an interesting blend for a family. Glad it worked.

  14. A new genre??? Geesh..I've not read steampunk yet!! LOL!

  15. I had to read this one "Fistful of Reefer", LOL!

    Diesel Punk is like Steam Punk only set in a different era, Western only, I think. I just heard of it like a week ago.

    I really really dislike Westerns-books, movies, etc... my husband loves them. I wish I liked them, I really do-they do help with my insomnia, though! Teeheez~

    Great review, though! :o]

  16. ^.^ I am in LOVE with the cover.

  17. This sounds like a really funky book. Definitely has me intrigues, though.

  18. Hey guys, If you'd like to give this ebook a spin, but not yet willing to invest the money, it is free on Smashwords currently. (Of course the sample is always free anywhere).

    This is the author again. It is basically an adventure novel. If that is what you are into then you should enjoy it.

    Jennifer and Carole, I'm glad you liked the cover. My artist is great!

    Love the blog, the reivew and all these great comments!



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