Cover image for Meanwhile, back at the ranch : a novel
Meanwhile, back at the ranch : a novel
Friedman, Kinky.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [2002]

Physical Description:
200 pages ; 24 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order


Author Notes

Kinky Friedman is the author of twelve novels, including Blast from the Past, Road Kill, The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover, God Bless, John Wayne, Armadillos & Old Lace; and Elvis, Jesus and Coca Cola.

He lives in a little green trailer in a little green valley deep in the heart of Texas.

(Publisher Provided) Author, singer, and songwriter Kinky Friedman was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 31, 1944. He grew up on a ranch in central Texas and received a B. A. in Psychology and Plan II Honors from the University of Texas at Austin in 1966. After graduation, he severed two years with the Peace Corps in Borneo.

In the early 1970's, he formed a country and western band called The Texas Jewboys. His music mixed social commentary with humor and dealt with topics such as racism and anti-Semitism. He reached cult status and was a musical guest on Saturday Night Live in October 1976.

After his music career ended in the 1980's, he started writing detective novels featuring a fictionalized version of himself solving crimes in New York City. Since April 2001, he has been a regular columnist for Texas Monthly magazine, but stopped in March 2005 due to his campaign bid for governor of Texas.

He founded Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, whose mission is to care for stray, abused, and aging animals. He currenlty lives at Echo Hill Ranch which is located near Kerrville, Texas. In 2012, Kinky Friedman partnered up with Willie Nelson to write Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings from the Road which became a New York Times Best Seller.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The real Kinky Friedman has enlisted First Lady and fellow Texan, Laura Bush, in his humanitarian effort to raise money for an organization near and dear to his cold, cold heart, the Utopia Rescue Ranch in Medina, Texas, an animal shelter. And here, in Friedman's fifteenth installment in the mystery series starring himself as private eye, the fictional Kinkster shuttles between upstate New York and his native Texas in his efforts to solve two cases: one involving a missing 11-year-old autistic child who only says the word shnay and the other concerning a three-legged cat named Lucky, missing from the ranch. What could have been a shameless plug for the shelter is, instead, a heartfelt and compassionate call for the care of the misfits of this crazy world. Friedman expertly, and not at all heavy-handedly, ties the two cases together with his depictions of a Dickensian orphanage and the animal shelter that lives up to its name. And, of course, there is plenty of the Kinkster's curmudgeonly wit and offbeat observations. Perhaps the most coherent novel in a flamboyant series. --Benjamin Segedin

Publisher's Weekly Review

Consistently irreverent, politically incorrect and more than a little outrageous, the Kinkster's 15th effort (after 2001's Steppin' on a Rainbow), while it may please his fans, is unlikely to win any new ones, as it's just a bit thin in the telling. Reading a Friedman novel is like listening to a hip monologue where some of the jokes work, some don't. Reading a Friedman novel is like being thrust into a hellzapoppin' world where reality is the only uncertainty. The ultimate effect, however, is amiable. The author's compassion for the underdog and love of animals are clear. Kinky has three cases to handle and he has catalogued them with the names of the Three Stooges. "Larry" involves a missing autistic boy, 11-year-old Dylan Weinberg, who speaks only one word, "Schnay," which is the clue to the mystery that surrounds him. "Moe" concerns a serial killer, whom Kinky and his buddy, Rambam, stake out. And finally there's "Curly," which focuses on the disappearance of a three-legged cat named Lucky. Lucky is of great sentimental value to Kinky's cousin Nancy, who helps run the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch (a real place), where unwanted animals are allowed to live out their lives. One of the cases comes to nothing, while another produces an unexpected corpse. It takes Friedman half the book to build a momentum, but once begun it moves well to a credible conclusion. The cat, incidentally, says nothing. 9-city author tour. Agent, Esther Newberg. (Sept. 12) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Kinky has his hands full he must track down an autistic child and his wayward cat, Lucky. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One Like a jaded, Jewish juggler in the cheap sideshow of life, one cold, gray afternoon I suddenly found myself with five balls in the air. Unfortunately, two of them were my own. Ah, but the other three! That's where the story really began. For the first time since God gave Gatorade to the Israelites, I had three potentially big cases all going for me at once. Many aspects of this investigative trinity were so daunting that I'd taken to referring to each case with a code name. Rambam, my half-Jewish, half-law-abiding P.I. pal, had provided the three investigations with their cryptic monikers. I was not wild about the three names he'd chosen, but at least they provided a handy way to converse clandestinely about these matters, thereby keeping the other Village Irregulars in total innocence. "I'm just not sure," I said to the cat, "that Moe, Larry, and Curly are quite the correct nomenclature for matters of this import." The cat, of course, said nothing. She contented herself with sitting precisely in the middle of the desk and looking at me with pity in her eyes. This did not surprise me. Cats, like many people, have almost no sense of humor. The last thing on the planet liable to entertain a cat would be the Three Stooges. All I knew about the cases at this point was as follows: As regards to Moe, I was four steps behind a possible serial killer. As far as Larry went, I was tantalizingly close to locating a missing autistic child who only said the word "shnay." As far as Curly was concerned, I can say nothing at all except that the investigation was so big it made the Giant Rat of Sumatra look like Mickey Mouse. For a few furious hours, I manned the phones, talking tersely to Rambam, New York Police Detective Sergeant Mort Cooperman, Detective Sergeant Buddy Fox, and various other concerned parties whose identities I feel morally obligated to protect at this time. I maintain two red telephones on my desk, both attached to the same line and both placed precisely equidistant from the cat. If I'd had a million red telephones, I felt, I'd still not be on top of things. Finally, I took a break. I lit my third Cuban cigar of the day and walked over to the window to watch the garbage trucks. It's a little funny and a little sad to see the things people throw away in their lives. Some of them won't even fit into a garbage truck. The only sound within the loft emanated from my commercial-sized espresso machine, which appeared to be dangerously close to liftoff. The hissing, steaming, gurgling tones sounded very much like "Blowin' in the Wind" being performed by a drowning kazoo player. I myself, worn to a frazzle from attempting to conduct three investigations at once, felt like a man dying of syphilis at the turn of the century. The cat, as one might expect, was invariably in a mood that ran counter to my own. She practically frolicked along the windowsill in unbridled, John Denver-like joy. "It's almost good to be alive," I said, paraphrasing my father. The cat did not respond. She did not believe in paraphrasing anybody. If a cat can't quote things precisely, the cat nearly always prefers to remain silent. If people pursued this same feline wisdom there'd be a lot fewer misunderstandings, a lot fewer wars, and a lot fewer people ripping off Oscar Wilde at cocktail parties. I drew a hot, bitter espresso from the giant, gleaming dildo that took up about a third of my little kitchen and wandered back over to the window and stood with the cat, watching some more garbage trucks. There were worldfuls of garbage trucks and worldfuls of cats and worldfuls of people like me wondering where the hell everybody went. As far as a financial pleasure for the Kinkster went, my previous three cases might've just as well ridden out on one of the garbage trucks. I'd managed to cajole the Village Irregulars into infiltrating Winnie Katz's lesbian domain in the loft above and wound up wearing a red wig. I'd tackled a cell of international terrorists and was just happy to finally have the severed finger removed from the freezer compartment of my refrigerator. I'd also attempted to locate McGovern, who'd disappeared off the coast of Hawaii while researching recipes for his cookbook, Eat, Drink, and Be Kinky. He was eventually found with a little help from one of Stephanie DuPont's four-legged friends, an intrepid young Maltese named Baby Savannah. Even though there'd been no payoff and the cases all had mixed results, I nonetheless took a small measure of pride in the seminal role I'd performed in my recent work. Had I not been successful, I thought, the world might've been overrun with lesbians and terrorists and McGovern might've been still wandering around lost in a fog somewhere. There are those, of course, who might point out that that's a fairly accurate description of how things are these days anyway. My past triumphs and defeats, however, were all smoke now, I thought, as I glanced at my dusty reflection in the windowpane. The puppethead, which currently resided atop the mantel of the fireplace, had watched it all go down and now seemed to be smiling at me with a little wooden smile on its face. It was, I noticed, almost precisely the same little wooden smile I was currently wearing myself. Like father, like son. It pays to have a sense of humor in this life. If you don't, Allah knows what will happen. I was puffing rather pridefully on my cigar, thinking of how challenging and potentially profitable my three new cases might be, when the phones rang. It could well be a call regarding Moe, Larry, or Curly which would, no doubt, send me into another fugue of feverish activity. I rapidly finished feeding the cat a can of Flaked Tuna with Egg Bits in Sauce, goose-stepped over to the desk, and picked up the blower on the left. "Start talkin'," I said. "Kinky!" said a highly excited, out-of-breath-sounding female voice. "It's Cousin Nancy from Utopia!" I puffed stoically on the cigar, settling back in my chair for what could be a long winter. I blew a patient plume of blue smoke upward toward Winnie Katz's lesbian dance class. "Come in, Berlin," I said. Copyright 2002 by Kinky Friedman Excerpted from Meanwhile Back at the Ranch by Kinky Friedman All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.