Matthew Brandon Blasi
Sweet Muffin Ranch
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.
Check out KSLA 12's coverage of the book and watch the full interview here.
Reviews for Sweet Muffin Ranch
With Sweet Muffin Ranch, Matthew Blasi reinvigorates the Southern Gothic tradition . . . . 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, award-winning author of Limited Partnerships, Layover, and Love Bomb
Matthew Blasi is one of the funniest and smartest young novelists I know. Everything he writes is razor sharp, witty, and full of life.
Lauren Grodstein, bestselling author of A Friend of the Family, Our Short History, and We Must Not Think of Ourselves
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
Rooted in southern Gothic, crime fiction, and the grotesque, Sweet Muffin Ranch feels somehow cyberpunk, full of dreamers trying to spin out beautiful, strange, and incredibly fragile lives in the ruins of the American economy. Joyful and idiosyncratic, Matthew Blasi's debut is full of righteous dogs and crumbling men and women perpetually on the threshold of becoming. Of particular interest are the antagonist, the extravagant crisis of masculinity that is Hollis Lerne; Rich Temmens, the protagonist's brother haunted by accidental war crimes; and the matriarch of the family, Mattie. Blasi loves these characters, unfolds them like heroes and heroines from epic, shows them at their most compelling, lets them sink into grandiose self-pity and emerge all the stranger--and it's a delight.
Maya Deane, author of Wrath Goddess Sing
Intense and outrageous but still violently familiar — like if Pat Conroy had ever tried cocaine. Matthew Blasi’s voice could dominate the Southern landscape for a long time. 5 dog-stars out of 5!
C.E. O'Banion, author of Chinese New Year