Mysterious Book Report No. 355

by John Dwaine McKenna

US Highway 101 runs north from the San Francisco Bay, up to Humboldt County . . . the remote, pot growing area of California known as the emerald triangle because of all the grow operations up there.  It’s an area that’s rugged, fertile and brimming with fierce and independent cultivators of the magic green plant that, when smoked, makes all of your “worries be gone,” to quote the legendary Guy Clark.  Humboldt County is where a doofus named Jerry Bertram runs to when he gets in the bad graces and gunsights of some outlaw bikers in Tom Pitts new novel entitled, 101, (Down & Out Books, PB $18.95, 256 pages, ISBN 978-1-948235-38-9)

When Jerry Bertram and his girlfriend break into a medical marijuana store in the Bay area and take the contents of the safe, they’re not just stealing from the dispensary, they’re also ripping off the one percent bikers who own the store through a front.  But, in addition they’re also robbing a group of Russian gangsters and their boss, a man known as “Vlad the Inhaler.” They finance the motorcycle club, and all of them want a piece of Jerry’s hide, and the return of the money before they kill him.  Trying to save his life, Jerry’s mother sends him north, to hide with a dour and enigmatic pot farmer named Vic, the “bravest and truest and toughest man I know,” according to her.  But her son’s a selfish doofus, who doesn’t seem to realize the mortal danger he’s in—or that he presents to others by his very presence—even when the bullets start flying, the killing begins and the bodies begin to pile up.  At the same time, Vic starts showing a skill set for violence, fighting and surviving that makes this an unstoppable read that will leave you breathless and needing a towel to dry off with.  Oh yeah, 101 is just that hot!

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