Gamblers, grifters, ne’er-do-wells, and dirt poor—to those who live on the outskirts of Columbia, South Carolina, such is the reputation of the Temmens family. Most of all, they’re known to be trouble, and when Gene, the youngest son, returns from a vagabond trip around the country, that’s exactly what he brings.
Hounded by Texas bookies, Gene and his destitute family have no choice but to gamble on one last ace: The Sweet Muffin Ranch, their family-owned and operated dog rescue and rehabilitation center that, to everyone’s surprise, quickly becomes a runaway success, one that makes the Temmens the talk of the town and offers Gene the chance to leave behind his illicit past.
But when Hollis Lerne, a nefarious local loan shark arrives to collect on old gambling debts and one of the Texans goes missing under suspicious circumstances, Gene and his family are caught in the middle of a bloody, unorthodox war that threatens the lives of humans and canines alike.
“With Sweet Muffin Ranch, Matthew Blasi reinvigorates the Southern Gothic tradition. Flannery O’Connor’s peacocks still strut around Columbia, South Carolina, but so do vicious stray pit bulls–and hitmen. Fleeing his debts and demons, Gene Temmens comes home to face off against a ruthless loan shark’s dog fighting ring. This sharp, soulful novel suggests that the best man may just possibly win and should delight anyone who believes in a dog’s power to soften a man.”— Lisa Zeidner, author of Layover, Love Bomb, and Who Says?
“Matthew Blasi’s debut novel Sweet Muffin Ranch is a homecoming, a return to loan sharks, bottles of peach hooch, dog whisperers, space pills—& ghosts. But as we tragically learn from the story, one can never really go home, nor escape it. Gripped from the opening pages, I simply could not put the book aside. Witty & darkly funny, Sweet Muffin Ranch is a masterstroke, a remarkable work of fiction.” — Malik Abduh, author of All the Stars Aflame
By: Noel Plaugher
By: Robin Lee Lovelace