Jesse James and The Secret Legend of Captain Coytus, By- Alex Mueck
When a Harvard history professor receives a thesis paper titled Jesse James and the Secret Legend of Captain Coytus, from Ulysses Hercules Baxter-an underwhelming student-he assumes the paper must be a prank. He has never read such maniacal balderdash in his life. But after he calls a meeting with the student, Professor Gladstone is dismayed when Baxter declares the work is his own.
Professor Gladstone, a Harvard history professor, has an agenda of becoming the next appointed department chair. One of his students, Ulysses Hercules Baxter, an under-achieving senior, has an agenda of acing his novel-based thesis on Jesse James. From the little bit the professor glanced at Baxter's quasi-mythical-titled paper, on which Mueck's novel is named, Gladstone is certain that Baxter's final year's work is totally bogus. Thinking that the faculty put Baxter up to a prank and not wanting to fall prey to the joke, Gladstone plans to not issue him a passing grade. However, when Baxter comes prepared to show that his sources are sound, Gladstone feels pressed to up his grade. Baxter is out to prove that he has solved three mysteries: 1) the disappearance of satirist Ambrose Bierce; 2) the disappearance of gold from Mexico's French emperor Fernando Maximilian; and 3) the untold truth about Jesse Woodson James.
Having researched several historical and conspiracy-minded books on the infamous Jesse James, Mueck has produced a uproarious novel whose plot, set in Missouri near the close of the Civil War, is a mix of satirical Mel Brooks humor and dark Quentin Tarantino comedy. Mueck's characters vary from serious to zany. Most notable is the hero of the story, nineteen-year-old Captain Coytus, whose name suggests that his leadership skills are at their finest among women, and who is on a mission to avenge his father's (Major Johnson's) death by seeking out those responsible, primarily Jesse James. Aside of the sexual innuendoes and rampant hormonal moments, Coytus is an educational wizard and a wordsmith to boot, with an ability to manipulate minds that, seemingly, shapes the course of American history.
Mueck cleverly weaves Coytus's quick-witted puns with the horrific historical realities of the Civil War by keeping each chapter short yet constantly moving as Coytus searches for James and finds true love on the way. Jesse James & The Secret Legend of Captain Coytus is earmarked to be a classic, one that readers will be talking about for years.
Title: Jesse James & The Secret Legend of Captain Coytus
Author: Alex Mueck
Pages: 462, Paperback/Kindle