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A restless man obsessed with dog races embarks on a cross-country journey leading to his Idaho hometown in this debut vel reminiscent of Catcher in the Rye. Luke Rivers is a part-time bartender and full-time gambler who dreams of scoring big at the dog races. He travels the greyhound circuit with his wife, Jenny, and their young son, Jake, until one morning he wakes up in a motel in Rapid City, South Dakota, to discover that Jenny has left him and taken Jake with her. Now, for the first time, Luke must confront both the tragic family past that led him to gambling and the uncertain future that lies ahead. Morris evokes with deft intelligence the colorful world of dog racing and the characters, human and canine, who inhabit it. But this is merely a background for the travails of Luke and his little family, the cheap motels and dusty dreams, the tensions between Luke's tender love for his son and his obsession with his betting system. Luke's dilemma-whether to pursue Jenny or continue gambling-is complicated further by his painful memories of family tragedy and personal breakdowns, and by a seemingly miraculous winning streak at the track.
Keith Lee Morris is the author of two books published by The University of Nevada Press: The Greyhound God (novel, 2003) and The Best Seats in the House and Other Stories (short story collection, 2004). His short stories have appeared recently in The Southern Review, Ninth Letter, and Nightsun. He has recently completed a second story collection, tentatively titled Butterflies, and is wrapping up another novel. Although his fiction is usually set in northern Idaho, he lives currently in South Carolina, where he teaches creative writing at Clemson University.