Wild Horses

Allison Willoughby has never had much luck with men, but Boyd Dobbins, the ace card-mechanic Casanova, is in a class by himself. He’s a sleaze and a cheater who may be every bit as handsome as he thinks he is, but only half as smart. When Allison’s finally had enough, she grabs her bag and hits the nearest road out of Vegas. Like a rolling stone, no direction home, no plans for tomorrow … and no idea she’s carrying the only key to seven hundred fifty grand in skimmed casino cash.

But Boyd knows it. So does Madeline DeCarlo, the over-the-hill showgirl-turned-crooked pit boss with killer legs and the soul of Lizzie Borden. And so does Gunther Manzetti, the chromosomally-challenged psycho mob-enforcer whose favorite method of persuasion involves the creative application of Crystal Drano. They’re all after the unsuspecting Allison, who has decided to head east and, after a lifetime of running away, confront the man whose abuse nearly destroyed her as a child: her father. It’s only hours before the bodies begin to pile up.

Caper, chase, mission of retribution and day of reckoning: These are the threads that intertwine to weave this high-energy, fiercely intelligent thriller, as it rips across the mythically vibrant American Southwest like a vicious twister, leaving wreckage in its wake and racing toward a bloody Mississippi showdown.

Allison is a strong, sympathetic woman in the direst straits since Joan of Arc, but can take care of herself with a vengeance, and she’s surrounded by as savage and whacked-out a cast of oddballs, eccentrics, and sickos as ever dreamed up by the likes of David Lynch. Yes, there’s plenty of violence and sex and mayhem, but there’s also uproarious humor, richly evocative writing, and deeply probed emotional truths.

It’s all delivered in taut, lean-and-mean prose, and careens along like a vintage big-engined Caddy with the top down and the pedal through the metal. Buckle up and revel in the fresh, irresistibly wild-at-heart ride that is Wild Horses.


“A soulful crime drama that blends the comic and the macabre … His well-drawn criminals make a memorable batch of bottom-feeders.”— Publishers Weekly

“Hodge draws characters with the texture of Daumier, and the imagination of LeFanu.” — Kirkus Reviews

“A first-class crime thriller, full of suspense, dark humor, and richly comic characters.” — Denver Post

“I have not enjoyed reading a novel more this year … Hodge has a deft, sure grasp of that old Shakespearean dramatic device of utilizing comedy to drive home horror, and using horror to galvanize sometimes painful, but always unrestrained, laughter.” — Ed Bryant in Locus

Wild Horses is a great rodeo ride of a book, leaping and twisting and bucking for all it’s worth. Delightful surprises. Wonderful thrills and smooth writing. Hodge is bucking for the championship belt with this one.” — Joe R. Lansdale, author of all kinds of awesome stuff

“Hodge’s savvy depiction of modern life’s underbelly recalls the work of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen. His pace is quick, the action tough and dirty. In contrast, he employs an amazingly delicate touch when depicting the vulnerable aspects of his characters. Best of all, the escapades of this motley band of players speak directly to anyone who has longed to tread a riskier path.” — Library Journal