Mystery Man

Novelist Pete Hautman finds himself in some pretty good company these days. His comic crime capers have earned reviews that put him right up there beside modern-day masters of the genre.

"Carl Hiassen and Elmore Leonard fans who have yet to discover Hautman's wryly comic, warmly human characters and madcap plots are in for a treat," declares Publishers Weekly.

"Pete Hautman is among the writers whose name along promises a great read," says the Denver Post.

"I laughed my nuts off," says author Kinky Friedman.

Hautman's first novel, Drawing Dead, about an unlikely collision of card sharks, cokeheads and comic-book con men, was named a Notable Book of 1993 by the New York Times Book Review. Three years later, The Mortal Nuts, the tale of a skinhead ex-con who aims to knock over a taco stand at the Minnesota State Fair and retire to Puerto Peñasco, earned the same honors. Mrs. Millions, the tale of a lottery winner who puts up a million-dollar reward for the return of her estranged husband, won the 1999 Minnesota Book Award for Best Popular Novel.

Hautman, who recently gave up his home in Tucson to live fulltime in Minnesota, has set his latest novel, Doohickey, right here in Southern Arizona. Nick Fashon, co-owner of a downtown apparel boutique, finds himself unexpectedly inheriting the rights to the HandyMate, the ultimate kitchen gadget, created by his now-deceased grandfather. But there are others who want to get their hands on the device as well, including the mysterious Yola Fuentes, owner of a Mexican restaurant in the badlands of Sierra Vista.

In this excerpt from the book, Nick meets his girlfriend Gretchen's father Bootsie for the first time. But after that awkward encounter is over, trouble awaits back at home....

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