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    Review of SIX-GUN TWO-STEP by William C. Duncan

    PublishAmerica, September, 2007

    It's too good a chance to pass up. When his drug supplier tells him her own supplier is dead, Timmy Thomas can't resist the opportunity to search the supplier's home. Sure enough, he discovers enough cocaine to move up a couple of notches in the value chain--as well as something completely unexpected. The suppliers had big bricks of almost perfectly pure heroin. Timmy grabs the lot, and goes into hiding. Because someone is going to come looking for the loot and Timmy sees it as his chance to move into the big time.

    A Hispanic gang has been expanding into Cleveland. With a secure source for excellent drugs, they've violently taken over a number of outlets and were in the process of working out an accomodation with Timmy's supplier. Now, though, their drugs have gone missing and they intend to get them back. If people have to die to make this happen, that's a price of business they've very happy to pay. When Timmy goes on the run--to New York, he leaves his friends and family in the lurch. The gang doesn't mind making them pay while they search for Timmy.

    Author William C. Duncan creates an intriguing scenario, flawed but sympathetic characters in the form of Timmy and his girlfriend, Glenda. Timmy's best friend, Bobby, becomes the story's focal point, with the drugs, violence, and the street gang changing him, allowing him to transform his life--if he can only survive.

    By concentrating on the wrong characters, Duncan weakened the impact of his story. Perfect older brother Wade Thomas is simply not interesting. While Bobby had plenty of potential, he became too perfect, too fast. And the gang leaders are simply a bit too dumb to be believable. Finally, in the final third of the novel, Duncan attempted to transform the novel from an interesting story of drugs and gangs to an Al Qaeda terrorism story. I found this part of the story hard to buy.

    SIX-GUN TWO-STEP holds plenty of action, some intriguing and damaged characters, and an interesting look into the multiple societies that make up Cleveland. While I believe that Duncan made some story-telling mistakes that weaken this novel, it is still an entertaining read.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 6/15/08

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