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(A Rumrunners Novel #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  137 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Smokey and the Bandit and The Dukes of Hazzard meet Justified and Fargo in this crime-family saga.

Meet the McGraws. They're not criminals. They're outlaws. They have made a living by driving anything and everything for the Stanleys, the criminal family who has been employing them for decades. It's ended with Tucker. He's gone straight, much to the disappointment of his fat
Paperback, 244 pages
Published May 12th 2015
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  137 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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This is the third Eric Beetner book I've read this year and for the third time in a row, he delivers thrilling, pulpy, criminal entertainment. Rumrunners, which so far might actually be his most popular book, follows the McGraw family, who for generations have been working as talented wheelmen for the Stanley's, an Iowa crime family. Tucker McGraw has been set on ending this outlaw legacy by going to college and becoming an insurance salesman. But when his father Webb goes missing with the Stanl ...more
Jan 23, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun read if you like a heist novel crossed with a hot-shit fast car Burt Reynolds movie. Kind of corny in a good way and funny in all the right places.

Note: it took me a month to receive this book from Amazon. Bezos can swoop up space capsules full of celebrities & millionaires for 30 seconds of anti-grav delights but he’s damned sure incapable of getting my books delivered to me in a timely manner.
Adam Howe
Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The blurb describes Eric Beetner’s RUMRUNNERS as Smokey and the Bandit meets Justified meets Fargo, and it’s that and more. (It was written before Fargo S2 aired, but there are welcome shades of the Gerhardt/Kansas City firm feud.) This tale of feuding outlaw clans moves pedal-to-the-metal fast. Fun characters (elderly wheelman Calvin McGraw steals the show), great dialogue, and a cinematic prose style. Beetner works his similes/metaphors like Lansdale his own self. Yeah, I liked this a lot. Oh, ...more
Benoit Lelièvre
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It's going to take me a little while to fall back to Earth after such an awesome novel. RUMRUNNERS begins as a classic crime novel, almost cliché even, but that's before Eric Beetner starts throwing in Lansdalesque turns of events and themes that will dig up your fondest memories of BREAKING BAD and standout novel BULL MOUNTAIN. RUMRUNNERS gradually won me over, page by page, until I could not let go anymore and neglected Josie for hours at the time. It's not the kind of novel that you read deli ...more
Max Everhart
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Is Elmore Leonard still alive and writing under a pseudonym? By page ten or so of Eric Beetner's latest book Rumrunners, that was the question I was asking myself, which is high praise indeed considering Leonard is on the Mount Rushmore of crime novelists.

The plot: Webb McGraw, an aging rumrunner, is given a lucrative pick-up-and-drop-off gig by Hugh Stanley, who presides over a criminal empire "running anything and everything illegal." Used to driving American muscle cars, McGraw enlists the he
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Eric Beetner seems to have a formula that he has used for every book he has published:

Fun plot + believable characters + witty dialogue + breakneck pace = novel that knocks you socks off.

I am more than pleased to say his latest, Rumrunners, shows that he is fine-tuning this formula. He has written many good books, but dare I say, this book is his best yet, which is saying a lot. His latest offering is being published by independent publisher, 280 Steps, and is due for release on May 12, 2015.

Jim Thomsen
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-noir
"We're not criminals, we're outlaws." It's an important distinction in Eric Beetner's latest tale of blue-collar backwater-America noir. Like the kind of car they don't much make anymore, RUMRUNNERS is fast, revs high and hot, and never moves at anything less than a confident rumble. Three generations of an Iowa family drive fast and hit hard in pursuit of a missing member of the fourth generation -- and whoever made him disappear.

You'll love Milo, the teen who finds his outlaw instinct; Tucker
Scott Cumming
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
An endorsement of this book might be that it wasn't even the one I intended to read next. I just happened to pick it up and have a look over the first few lines as I am sometimes wont to do. This look turned into reading the first chapter, then the second chapter and then I was reeled in.

The book introduces us to the McGraw family, who have been driving and delivering goods for the Stanley crime family for a century. Octogenarian, Calvin McGraw, is the patriarch of the family and is struggling w
Rory Costello
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Eric Beetner really commands his material here. He excels at maintaining momentum -- if you like real car chases (with classic vehicles) and fights (especially with improvised weapons at hand), you've got 'em galore in Rumrunners. But what makes this story really work is the characters he creates: the McGraw family in particular, led by beer-guzzling 86-year-old patriarch Calvin, who refuses to recognize the passage of time. This is just a whole lot of fun. ...more
Steph Post
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the best crime novels I've read this year. Fast, fun and brilliantly crafted. I will definitely be checking out the prequel. ...more
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gritty crime and suspense in this story about four generations of some willing and some unwilling outlaws!
Elizabeth A.
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Calvin McGraw has seen and done a lot in his 86 years, a great bit of it illegal. Let’s get one thing clear up front though: Calvin McGraw is no criminal—he’s an outlaw. It’s a distinction that makes all the difference in the world to the McGraw family, who have been the go-to drivers for the Stanley clan’s off-the-books enterprise for almost a century.

Now though, there’s trouble in outlaw paradise, in more ways than one. For starters, the McGraw-Stanley connection already looked to be coming to
David Nemeth
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Eric Beetner's Rumrunners (280 Steps) accomplished two firsts for me: this is the first book I've read by Beetner and the first book I've read from the publisher, 280 Steps. This was followed quickly by the fact that I will be reading more books by Beetner and 280 Steps in the near future.

Rumrunners opens with an old man at a donut counter where Calvin McGraw gets into an argument with the hipster-donut-slinger about electric cars.
“What’s wrong with electric cars?”

Calvin rolled his eyes. He
Michelle Isler
Mar 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Rumrunners was a dark, action packed novel about two guys teaming up and taking on one of Iowa's most feared crime families. Welcome to the life of the McGraws versus the Stanleys. This is going to be a bumpy ride, no doubt. But, Eric Beetner knows how to take a mixture of violence, crime, fast cars, tough men, and a perfect amount of wit and turn it into a great book.
Calvin McGraw is a crusty, 86-year-old man who spent his youth as a rumrunner for the Stanley clan. Years later, Webb McGraw, Ca
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I laid in bed late last night and read Rumrunners by Eric Beetner in one lengthy session. Started at around two in the morning and finished as the sun was coming up.

I am grumpy and lightheaded today but, boy, did I enjoy myself. Solid characters, excellent plotting, sharp believable dialog and crisp action.

Grandpa Calvin is my new hero. I adore an old guy who can still throw down.

I love the McGraw family as much as I detest the Stanleys and would like to see more of their adventures.
Jason Overdorf
It was good enough that I'm looking forward to reading a few more, but the comparisons to Elmore Leonard are not warranted (at least in this one). Muscle cars and crime are a good combo, and it was fun enough to keep me reading when my concentration levels were pretty poor. ...more
Dwayne McIntosh
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Once the foot hits the gas pedal, it's all high octane fun! The story, characters, action and dialogue pull you and won't let you go until it's done. Thought numerous times that this book read like a movie, as I could envision everything playing out in my head. Well done. ...more
Neliza Drew
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beetner's always entertaining. Fast-paced action with just enough heart to keep a haggard Bruce Willis from falling out of the book. ...more
May 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
I bought this book because I've enjoyed listening to the author at a couple of book conventions and conferences. He's very witty and engaging. However, I can see how he has turned out so many books over the years as this one was fairly simple with a so-so plot. Had some humor if you were in the mood and got over some of the language. Interesting, somewhat original premise for the plot, but it felt a bit familiar--about a small town gangster family in Iowa, the Stanleys and their drivers, the McG ...more
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
So much pulpy fun. Violent and fill of car chases and thievery and murder. A blast
Kevin Catalano
Sep 12, 2015 rated it liked it
This novel has an original, funny conceit: an 80-year-old man, his grandson, and his great-grandson are on the hunt for the murderer of said octogenarian's son. Beetner executes this premise with some really funny lines, great action description, and a fast pace. For these reasons, I "liked" the novel.

Incidentally, Rumrunners was recommended to me by the publisher because of my high praise for Brian Panowich's Bull Mountain, which is also a novel about a family's drug-running legacy. What Rumrun
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Rumrunners by Eric Beetner is the best kind of fun. Imagine a serious mashup of Smokey and the Bandit and The Dukes of Hazzard distilled into something serious and deadly. That's just a taste of what you get with Rumrunners. A four-generation family clan of transporters are in a bad way with their boss. The traffic these days does not consist of moonshine; today's currency is meth, pseudo, cash, people, and violent takeovers of competitors. The risk for the transporters is life and death. The di ...more
Sep 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Thanks to the publisher (280 Steps) for giving me a download of this book in exchange for my opinion.

There's nothing subtle here, this is highly visual, fast-moving crime fiction meant solely to entertain. For me, the overall experience of the book was sort of like reading a video game. This is a good choice for the reader who enjoys adrenaline fueled car chases and fights involving unusual weapons (for some reason, even hardened criminal characters were surprisingly often without guns, allowing
Rob Stuart
Jun 09, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
An inane, far-fetched romp through the Midwest. Some of my favorite passages were:

"The huge wing on the back of the car pushed down on the rear tires and they gripped the road hard like it was a stripper's ass."

"There was no way Milo could adjust his position on the air mattress without making bizarre rubbery noises like two balloon animals humping on a pile of dodgeballs..."

That should pretty much let you know what you're getting into with Rumrunners.
ABC Group
Sep 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very few writers are as consistently good as Eric Beetner. His latest (published) novel Rumrunners falls into a canon of work that is highly underrated and just simply unknown. Beetner is about as prolific as they come and he has yet to disappoint.

Rumrunners reminds me of Elmore Leonard's prior work, but Beetner is no copycat.

Rumrunners could easily be optioned for film and my hope is that this author finally gets the attention he deserves.
Brandon Nagel
Beetner is Awesome

Super fun thrill ride from the first page. Tons of action, humor, and it kept you guessing. A book doesn't get much better than this!
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very good book. Hilarious in parts ....poignant in others. yes it'd about criminals....well....outlaws....but there are still values that can be learned. very...very good book. ...more
Christopher Davis
My first story from publisher 280 Steps and a damned good one it was
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book but he needs a better copy editor.
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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Eric Beetner is the author of The Devil Doesn't Want Me, Dig Two Graves, White Hot Pistol, The Year I Died Seven Times, Criminal Economics, Stripper Pole At The End Of The World and the story collection A Bouquet of Bullets. He is co-author (with JB Kohl) of One Too Many Blows To The Head and the sequel, Borrowed Trouble as well as writing two novellas in the acclaimed Fightcard series, Split

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