Poet and short-story writer Falco's first novel - about the violent
subculture of race-track workers in Florida - tends toward
melodrama, but in a staccato Raymond Carver-like prose rhythm.
Jesse Skyne, 23, arrives in Florida after fleeing from the family
business for a job as a groom at the Ben White Raceway - and
immediately falls in with a group of rednecks: central to the group
is Winter - jazz aficionado, gun freak, cocaine-user, and crazy,
dangerous drunk. His girlfriend, Easy, has her name for a reason,
and soon enough she has eyes for Jesse (nicknamed Sky). There are
also Cliff, who pretends to go to college, and his girlfriend
Daniella, who wants to get serious. Fat chance in this world. Falco
plants all sorts of hints of violence to come and also (now and
then) remembers the track: its training procedures and its rites of
passage. Meanwhile, Jesse gets more than he bargains for in his
education: after an endless round of booze, drugs, and dangerous
practical jokes, he becomes Easy's lover. His gambler friend Rizzi
arrives; then Winter, after a vicious bar fight, ends up in jail
for a few months. Once he gets out, the rest of the story turns
into his revenge saga, with Jesse uneasily on the sidelines. There
are several murders and a house-burning before things turn nasty.
Finally, after nearly everyone is either dead or terminally
depressed, Winter flees to Mexico, Cliff is broken, Easy
disillusioned, and Jesse afraid he'll get thrown into jail. But
life goes on, the bodies are buried, and Jesse heads north again -
enough of real life for a while. The story of revenge turns a
middling slice-of-life effort downhill, but Falco's portrait of
dreary low-rent craziness in roadhouses, trailers, and shacks rings
true often enough to excuse the rather stale apocalypse-to, entropy
finish. (Kirkus Reviews)
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