Rumrunners by Eric Beetner

Eric Beetner‘s Rumrunners (Down & Out Books) accomplished two firsts for me: this is the first book I’ve read by Beetner and the first book I’ve read from the publisher, 280 Steps. This was followed quickly by the fact that I will be reading more books by Beetner and 280 Steps in the near future.

Rumrunners opens with an old man at a donut counter where Calvin McGraw gets into an argument with the hipster-donut-slinger about electric cars.

“What’s wrong with electric cars?”

Calvin rolled his eyes. He wanted to sit and watch his cars in silence. Longing and regret about the past was a solitary hobby.

“Nothing other than everything. They’re fuckin’ stupid.”

“I happen to drive a Prius.”

“Of course you do.” Calvin swiveled on his stool. He wasn’t sure if the skinny guy was being bold because Calvin’s age made him feel safe, but he was sure the guy had no clue who he was dealing with.

The hipster didn’t and, as Rumrunners progresses, neither does anyone else who encounters the McGraws.

Beetner’s novel is the story of two Iowa crime families, the Stanelys who are trying run Iowa City, and the McGraws who do the Stanely’s smuggling. These two multi-generational families square off between lies and betrayal, as the McGraws have to stay ahead of the threats and bullets of the Stanleys using the only thing they know, good old Detroit-made cars. Rumrunners is a great American road drama filled with speed, drugs, murder and treachery. The prequel, Leadfoot, comes out tomorrow and I’ll be reading it.

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