My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Subtitled “A Jimmy Veeder fiasco,” this was one entertaining read. A boy who fled farm country returns home when he learns Pop is dying, and finds his hometown barely recognizable. His father’s dying wish sets in motion a sequence of events that boot Jimmy from his extended adolescence into the tough decisions that make him a man. The story is compelling and deftly set as grim desert backdrop to a colorful crew of characters, real people who never mug for the camera. Full of belly laughs, excitement and lots of heart. Shaw paints a border town with alternating strokes of piercing honesty and bittersweet nostalgia, but like the oleander flowers that decorate each chapter, a poisonous secret lies beneath its beauty, and I enjoyed discovering it. A great debut, and to echo the blurbs- I hope there are many fiascoes to come!