DISCLAIMER: I received a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: July 28th, 2015
When I first signed up to be a reviewer, this was one of my choices for my initial book. Cool cover, decent premise, why not? The story is about a small town in northeast Montana celebrating their yearly Jamboree. The town is undergoing changes due to the local oil-rig jobs that are sprouting up just outside of the city limits, but usually these jobs attract the wrong kind of people. The main plot focuses on Sam and his organizing the Jamboree, his relationship with his wife, his gay son, his angry brother, and the town's mayor.
Also, a new police chief is named and begins to conduct business as she sees fit, doing the noble, honest, and just work of law enforcement. This is met with strong resistance from the mayor who is more concerned with making his friends and colleagues happy than he is actually doing the right thing.
Another story line is that of Raleigh, the local town celebrity who moved away and became a famous author. He returns yearly for the Jamboree to lead book clubs, meet his fans, and revisit the place he grew up.
If it seems like these are all unrelated story lines, I agreed with you until about mid-way through. Then Lancaster begins weaving them seamlessly into this beautiful, tragic novel about small town life and the secrets hidden beneath. When I finished the book, which took me a day, I couldn't help but think, "Wow! Where did that come from?" because by the time you realize you're 150 pages in, the story begins morphing into a darker, deeper novel.
One thing that hit me at the end was the title. When I read books, I always try to think how the title relates to the story being told and why the author chose those words to name his/her work. After reading this book, the title is quite an abstract commentary on his own work. Brilliant.
I love to read and to discuss books. My preferred genre is sci-fi but I like to read mostly anything.