Reviews

The Driving Lesson

Critics have compared Central Texan Ben Rehder to Carl Hiaasen for his darkly comic series of mysteries set in Blanco County. Now Rehder is following in Hiaasen’s footsteps once more by penning a young-adult title: The Driving Lesson. The story follows Charlie Dunbar, on a road trip-cum-getaway with his cancer-stricken grandfather. Charlie wants to get his beloved Opa to Seattle to see a specialist, but there’s just one problem: They have to elude the police. Rehder infuses Lesson with his trademark dry wit, yet there’s a sweetness at the heart of this road caper.” —Austin American-Statesman

“The Driving Lesson is Rehder’s first young adult novel, but hopefully not his last. Rehder is best known for his comic crime novel series set in Blanco in the Hill Country and featuring a game warden as the lead character. That series could be coming to TV — stay tuned.” —Abilene Reporter-News

The Chicken Hanger

“Ben Rehder made quite a name for himself in the past decade, especially among male readers, with his series of wacky murder mysteries set in Blanco County in the Hill Country and featuring game warden John Marlin as the hero. If you haven’t read any of the Blanco series, pick up one at the library or bookstore and enjoy it. Rehder has a new novel just published by TCU Press, but it’s not in the same tone and genre as the earlier books. The Chicken Hanger, while certainly humorous at times, takes a more serious look at the issue of illegal immigration from several vantage points: the immigrants themselves, the ranchers who own property along the border, the border patrol agents who face an almost impossible task, and other citizens caught up in the saga.” —Abilene Reporter-News

“In the tradition of Carl Hiassen, The Chicken Hanger is a fast-paced, fun, satirical romp which aims for truth and hits humor along the way. Kudos to Ben Rehder for crafting a smart, balanced, wickedly funny and highly original look at the contradictions, hypocrisies and hard realities of illegal immigration.” —Sarah Bird, author of The Gap Year and How Perfect is That

“This is a fine, strong novel, full of great characters. Ben Rehder takes us behind the headlines and onto the front lines of the immigration wars. The result is this dramatic and compelling book.” —Steve Davis, author of J. Frank Dobie: A Liberated Mind

Holy Moly

“Rich with clever prose, oddball characters and laugh-aloud plot twists. The author, an Edgar Award finalist, is a sharp stylist with an engaging and frequently irreverent sense of humor.”  Dallas Morning News

“Word is that Ben Rehder might drop the curtain on his snarky Blanco County mystery series. If so, the Austinite goes out on a high note with this screwball tale. For those suffering Carl Hiaasen withdrawals (the master of comic crime last put out a novel in 2006), Holy Moly might be the perfect poolside fix come summer.”  Texas Monthly

“A tale of lust, power and greed that unravels at breakneck speed…Rehder’s characters are always memorable, as are his satirical plots. His style is entertaining and fun to read.”  San Antonio Express-News

“Hook[s] the reader right from the start and keep[s] the action moving from page to page.”  Abilene Reporter-News

“Edgar-finalist Rehder’s sixth Blanco County (Tex.) mystery may be the best to date in this rollicking crime series. Rehder’s satirical take on greed, faith and foolishness moves at a swift clip, punctuated with dizzy twists and even bittersweet turns, like a good toe-tapping, country and western tune.”  Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Ben Rehder in his hilarious Holy Moly places televangelists and the creationism vs. evolution debate under the microsope. [He] takes readers on an adventure into the multimillion-dollar realm of the televangelist on whose land the fossil was found, life in small-town Texas, and the inner workings of police investigation in the latest entry in this Edgar Award-nominated series. Combining sophisticated prose with down-home Texas crime, he leaves no part of Texas life untouched.”  Library Journal

“Weird and wickedly funny.”  Austin Chronicle

“Could Blanco County, Texas be peaceful for a change? Not on your life. As usual, John Marlin shows us that he’s more than just a game warden, and is up for anything the crooks can throw at him. I loved the time I spent in Texas Hill Country in real life, but it doesn’t compare to my enjoyment at reading a new Rehder novel.”  Deadly Pleasures

“Rehder uses his satirical bent to make his characters incredibly funny, while also using their eccentricities to make them interesting, and likable. Add to all this a quick-moving and complex plot and Holy Moly is a very enjoyable book.”  Mystery Scene magazine

“Rehder unloads on television evangelists with the same satire and wit that he flung at the anti-gun lobby in his last novel. There are not many books that I read in two or three sittings, but Rehder’s stuff is always in that category.”  International Game Warden magazine

Gun Shy

“A wicked funny book about a subject as serious as a loaded .45: gun control. In the process, Rehder has made the leap from writing skillful comic pleasantries to pulverizing satire.”  Austin American-Statesman

“Straight-shooter Rehder sends up players on both sides of the gun control debate in his fifth Blanco County mystery, a humorous, intelligent take on a serious issue. This satire packs firepower and poignant surprises.” —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Wickedly funny.” —Dallas Morning News

“A thriller with more turns than a Hill Country highway. Rehder writes with an assured hand and a knowing tip of the wide-brimmed cowboy hat to the ways and wiles of the characters that people his distinctly Texan landscape. A darn good read. Satirical and often laugh-out-loud funny, the novel is insightful and often touching.” —San Antonio Express-News

“Ben Rehder writes about the Texas Hill Country with such insightful appreciation that he’s come to own the territory, much the same way Carl Hiaasen owns South Florida. In this witty whodunit, the author tackles gun control, managing to skewer both sides of that polarizing issue with sly, satirical humor. With each new Rehder book, I can’t help wondering when some enterprising TV or movie producer is going to snap up the author’s hilarious series for the screen. Gun Shy is the best of the bunch: It scores a bull’s-eye.”   —Austin Chronicle

“[An] increasingly popular (and increasingly enjoyable) series. With this novel, the Marlin series has completed the transition from light mystery to no-holds-barred madcap comedy crime fiction (à la Westlake or Hiaasen).” —Booklist

“Rehder continues to improve with each book. [His] series will appeal to fans of Southwestern mysteries laced with a bit of humor.” —Library Journal

“[A] zany look at the world of gun control, deftly contrasting competing national organizations and their leaders. Rehder’s clever tale is right on target, laced with dark humor, funny characters, solid police work and an intriguing plot. —Lansing State Journal

“From the first sentence to the closing paragraph, Rehder orchestrates a spoof that is altogether too real for comfort and at the same time irresistible. Written in a style similar to Carl Hiaasen, Gun Shy is a guaranteed good read.” —Boerne Star & Recorder

“Rehder has a sly wit that suits me just fine, and I look forward to further entries in this enjoyable series.” —Deadly Pleasures

“[A] highly entertaining entry from a very talented and humorous author.”                         —International Game Warden

 Guilt Trip

Guilt Trip is the fourth in Mr. Rehder’s well-received Blanco County mystery series. He uncorks his latest story, which involves murder and a Texas state senator, using a cast of quirky but believable characters and a crisp, wry writing style.” —Dallas Morning News

“This series about Blanco County, Texas, game warden John Marlin keeps getting odder and funnier…But one thing’s for sure: Rehder has jumped to a new level, and Guilt Trip just might grab a chunk of the outsize Hiaasen crowd.” —Booklist

“As funny as it is suspenseful…Well-paced, smartly plotted, full of memorable Hill Country denizens and crackling dialogue, this is diverting fun.” —Publishers Weekly

“Ben Rehder has found a way to keep the laughs coming even when bodies start to litter the countryside of Blanco County, Texas…Lots of distinct characters ensure that the novel never lags, and John Marlin is a happy combination of ecologist and eccentric.” —Dallas Morning News

“Rehder has a special talent for creating idiosyncratic characters and putting them in outlandish situations…Rehder’s still on a roll with Guilt Trip. I liked it very much, and recommend it to anyone seeking a light-hearted read.” —Davis Enterprise

“…the regional flavor of Hiaasen and the strong story elements of Westlake, with laugh-out-loud moments leavening the strangeness of life…Guilt Trip is a hoot and a holler of a mystery.” —Flint Journal

“Veteran Rehder readers will look forward to this one, but the other Blanco County mysteries are not prerequisites if you want to begin appreciating this entertaining and creative Texas author. Each tale stands alone on its own merits. Try one and you’ll probably be hooked.” —Abilene Reporter News

“Hilarious…lovers of light-hearted crime novels should have a great time with this one.” —Lansing State Journal

“But these aren’t just any crime novels. They’re all murderously funny…” —Hill Country Sun

“Rehder once again takes the reader on a hilarious spin through the rough and redneck terrain of Texas in this laugh out loud read. Not a single wasted page exists in this wonderfully engaging read. —New Mystery Reader

“There are so many things to enjoy about a visit to Blanco County. The humor is a big part of the attraction in this series.” —Deadly Pleasures

“A delightful and comfortable read.” —Johnson City Record-Courier

“Rehder is a master at keeping you wondering where you are, where you’re headed—and right when you think you’ve figured it out, he hooks a left. Guilt Trip is another great book by a great writer.” —Country Line Magazine

“Riveting, captivating and outrageously funny, Guilt Trip is a must read.” —Seguin Gazette-Enterprise

Flat Crazy

“Murderously funny…[Game Warden] Marlin’s job, as usual, is to keep a cool hand on a dangerously fraught situation. Rehder’s job, performed with similar skill, is to stand back and let it all work itself out.” —Chicago Tribune

“Another of Rehder’s relentlessly twisted tales. Outrageous fun.” —Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

“Down-home humor that is both intriguing and entertaining.” —Dallas Morning News

“The odd cast of characters and bizarre plots and subplots make for a rollicking good read.” —Houston Chronicle

“The third and cleverest installment of Austinite Ben Rehder’s Blanco County Mystery series. Flat Crazy is pure, guilt-free pleasure for those who like their mysteries with a side order of weird.” —Texas Monthly

“Rehder has a stable of characters and critters guaranteed to create havoc. Marlin’s quiet competency adds to the enjoyment, as he puzzles out this confounding mystery.”              —Publishers Weekly

“Rollicking good fun.” —San Antonio Express-News

“Rehder’s clever storytelling skills, his expert comic timing and flair for characters have made this series shine. Rehder’s series works for both those readers who despise hunting as well as those who indulge in the sport. Rehder’s dark sense of humor serves him well as Flat Crazy has many laugh-out loud moments, punctuated by sharp dialogue and odd but believable characters. Flat Crazy‘s ending is the perfect mix of absurd humor and suspenseful action. Rehder doesn’t just write niche mysteries, he’s proving to be one of the genre’s rising talents with his twisted tales.” —South Florida Sun-Sentinel

“Ben Rehder is back with the third installment of his Blanco County mystery series, and, once again, he’s brought the funny…well-drawn characters, genuine plot surprises, and ironic social commentary lift the series well above the connect-the-dots level. Flat Crazy is flat-out funny, and I can’t wait to see what [Game Warden] John Marlin gets into next.” —Austin Chronicle

“A thoroughly entertaining concoction. I recommend Flat Crazy highly.” —The Davis Enterprise

“Hilarious…if you haven’t discovered Rehder yet, you’re in for a real treat.” —Lansing State Journal

“Rehder does another excellent job sharing his uncanny twisted humor…a great read, a great gift.” —Country Line Magazine

“I have several authors whom I rank among my favorites, and Austin writer Ben Rehder is quickly making his way to the top of my list. Flat Crazy is the third in the Blanco County Mysteries series, and possibly his best work yet. I can’t wait for the next mysterious murder in Blanco County — at least the one dreamt up in Ben Rehder’s comically twisted mind.” —Seguin Gazette-Enterprise

“This guy is the funniest, freshest voice in Texas mystery writing today. His work stands out like a DayGlo parka in deer season.” —Rick Riordan, author of Southtown

“Ben Rehder throws open the gates, shoots his pistols in the air, and unleashes a stampede of comic madness.” —Tim Cockey, author of Backstabber

Bone Dry

Field & Stream has named Bone Dry as one of “the most worthwhile books of 2003.”
“Bone Dry is a humorous mystery, much like Carl Hiaasen’s gore-spattered howlers based in Florida. Rehder is very good at capturing the speech and culture of Texans and has peopled his book with a collection of oddballs…”

“You don’t need an invite to the Bush ranch to have fun in Texas. Ben Rehder, whose Buck Fever earned him an Edgar nomination for best first mystery last year, is back…”             —Chicago Tribune

“More funny adventures of John Marlin, amiable, estimable game warden of Blanco County, Texas. Opening Day of the deer-hunting season is always a time of test and turmoil for Marlin, but in this winning sequel to Buck Fever (2002) he finds himself particularly beset. Characters to chuckle at, yes, but Rehder never forgets he’s got clues to furnish and a story to tell. ” —Kirkus Reviews

“Fans of Rehder’s rollicking debut, Buck Fever (2002), which was nominated for both Edgar and Lefty awards, will welcome the sequel, an over-the-top tale of sex, mayhem and murder in Texas’s hill country.” —Publishers Weekly

“…a humdinger. Funny, sardonic, and filled with clever metaphors and similes, Bone Dry is as cool and satisfying as a Lone Star beer on a hot Texas afternoon.” —Sports Afield

“Rehder’s books are readable for their portrayals of over-the-top Texans who still live life the old-fashioned way: fat, drunk and stupid. Bone Dry…would make a nice read in the deer blind on opening morning.” —Mike Leggett, Austin American-Statesman

“Lots of twists and turns and authentic police procedures…[a] fast-paced romp.” —San Antonio Express-News

“…weird, wild and wacky…one of the funniest mysteries of the year…[this] fast-paced novel has a variety of peculiar plotlines that all converge in a wild and memorable ending. Rehder’s first book was a finalist for the Edgar Award and the Lefty Award (for the funniest crime novel of the year). His latest effort is in the same category–it’s a nifty, hilarious romp that’s tough to put down.” —Lansing State Journal

“This is a laugh-out-loud culture clash mystery that recalls Carl Hiaasen in his prime.”   —Flint Journal

“…grabs and holds your attention, reads quickly and keeps you laughing, making it hard to come up for air.” —Texas Sporting Journal

“Well obviously Ben Rehder has yet to get his medication corrected. His newest offering, Bone Dry, is absolutely hilarious…even non-hunters will enjoy the edge-of-your-seat deer blind drama.” T.J. Greaney, Country Line Magazine

“Rehder has graduated from aspiring crime writer to a master of his craft.” —Seguin Gazette-Enterprise

“Take a novel about hunting, throw in some unforgettable characters, and add a dash of ribald humor. The mix makes for a mystery that is fun to read.” —Abilene Reporter-News

“…the right combination of humor and mystery…a hoot and a holler with an extra hoot.” —Johnson City Record Courier

Buck Fever

“This debut novel is a complete success, tearing out of Texas chock-full of characters so nutty and events so strange it seems as if they must be real. The writing here is confident and vigorous; the tone is quintessentially Texan and relentlessly wry. There’s sure to be a long career for this happy, wacky series.” —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

Buck Fever was named one of the best books of 2002 by Publishers Weekly.

“This is a wild and crazy first novel, crowded with weird people, unusual relationships (both animal and human), and frequent humor that will appeal to fans of Carl Hiaasen, Tim Dorsey, and other comic mystery writers. Strongly recommended for most collections.” —Library Journal (Starred Review)

Buck Fever was named one of the best books of 2002 by Library Journal.

“It’s been our pleasure to be among the first reviewers to take notice of several writers who eventually became best sellers, including Nevada Barr, Lee Child and Randy Wayne White. Ben Rehder has what it takes to join that group. Imagine Carl Hiaasen with a Texas accent…” —Denver Post

“Briskly paced, amusing, spiced with deftly drawn good-old-boy portraits: an altogether promising debut.” —Kirkus Reviews

“… promising debut … comes within shooting distance of Hiaasen and Leonard territory.” —Booklist

“…side-splitting…akin to the Tom Robbins style of humor writing.” —ESPN Outdoors

“Austinite Ben Rehder’s debut novel is the summer’s best find. With a nod and a wink to Carl Hiaasen, Rehder comes out swinging with a sardonic Tex-centric look at trophy deer hunters, beer-guzzling poachers, and Game Warden John Marlin—the man charged with keeping them all in line. Buck Fever is too fun to be legal.” —Mike Shea, Texas Monthly

“Two writers who hail from our fair city have been nominated for a 2003 Edgar. The honors from the Mystery Writers of America are among the most prestigious in the genre…and the nominees are…Ben Rehder, author of Buck Fever…” —Sharyn Wizda Vane, Austin American-Statesman

Buck Fever is fun. It’s over the top. It’s true to Texas.” —Mike Leggett , Austin American-Statesman