Review: Hardrock

Posted on July 26, 2010


Hardrock: Crazy Jake’s Fish Bomb
By L. Bracken
New Flight Books
March 2010
362 pages

Colorado’s population in the 70s was an eclectic stew of cowboys, miners, hippies, corporate execs, celebrities, college kids, and desperados, all mixed together. But there were also families like 12-year old Lisa Joe and her parents and foster brother who were searching for a simpler way of life. As the new managers of the broken down Quartz Creek Inn, they don’t necessarily find a simpler life, but it’s way more exciting than suburban Houston. Nestled among 14,000-foot peaks far from civilization, what the tiny town of Hardrock lacks in creature comforts, like grocery stores or malls, it makes up for with an abundance of creatures and characters.

Even though Crazy Jake’s shenanigans, including his infamous fish bomb alluded to in the subtitle, are some of the most entertaining, the truth is, Hardrock is home to a whole tribe of misfits. Even the wildlife act weird. While the antics of Boris the menacing Russian, Rat Man, wacky Esmerelda Peevil, Enis Snapbinder and his pea fowl, and the notorious Pickanaxe Pete are a constant source of amusement for Lisa Joe and her best friend Alex (Joe and Al), they do a bang up job of conjuring up their own brand of mischief and rollicking adventure. The girls’ hair-raising slide down Dark Mountain is one of the funniest scenes in the book.

Reminiscent of Patrick McManus, Bracken tells these tall tales with such deadpan humor and wit, you don’t even care if she’s pulling your leg. Once you hang out with the inhabitants, you’ll want to return to Hardrock for more fun. 

Copyright (c) 2010 by Peggy Tibbetts

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