Writing with an acute sense of place and character reminiscent of Richard Russo, Jason Headley's first novel tells the hilarious and poignant story of Eric Mercer and Pinely, West Virginia. Enromously likeable and a habitual screw-up, Eric has settled into a sometimes raucous, underachieving life in his one-stoplight hometowna life cobbled together from his part-time activities as bartender at the American Legion, assistant mortician, and father to his beloved 5-year-old daughter, Tess. Tess seems to be the main reason smart, talented, twenty-four-year-old Eric is staying in town, though her mom, a centerfold-quality beauty, would have it otherwise. When Jill, the lost love of his life, returns to Pinely in the same week that the town goes nuts in preparation for the high school football team's Big Game, life unexpectedly shifts into high gear, and Eric must blunder his way toward enlightenmentfast. Authentic, irresistible, and refreshingly unpredictable, Small Town Odds is the debut of a graceful and gifted writer.
Barnes & Noble Best of 2004: Staff Picks