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Last Mango in Texas
Arthur: Ray Blackston
Publisher: Faith Words Publishing
Length: 253 pp.

Ray Blackston, much like John Grisham, has hit upon a formula that works in his writing: Offer up a male protagonist that is seemingly clueless in the ways of love, present a female that both beguiles and enrages him, get them together, then break them apart based on a sociopolitical or religious issue, allow God to work, then put the two together during sort of mission work…and they all live happily ever after.

With seemingly a simple outline in place, how then does Blackston keep his readership?  Plainly put, his mixture of humor, honesty, and the ability to see situation from both sides mixed with a fast pace make for enjoyable reading.  Last Mango in Texas is no exception to this rule.

Kyle Mango is our hero, a student at Texas Tech who is trying to fit into the fraternity lifestyle.  At a party, he meets Gretchen, an environmental activist who helps him first escape the frat house, then his traditional ways of thinking.  Just before graduation, Kyle inherits four oil wells from an uncle.  How then to reconcile his new found oil wealth with his anti-corporation, anti-pollution girlfriend? 

Kyle’s suddenly large income allows him the freedom to hire his college roommate, and a former bookie that knew his uncle.  With this unlikely cast, he learns about himself, his relationship to God, and just how far he will go to pursue his love for Gretchen.  Somewhere along the way, he also learns how to deal with all of the obstacles that also reveal how to know what one truly wants.

Last Mango in Texas is worth the ride.  Blackston’s approach is much the same as in his Flabbergasted trilogy, while different enough to keep the reader guessing.  His optimistic approach to dealing with issues of faith and love will both entertain and offer insight to most readers.

Brian A. Smith
19 April 2009



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