The Long Rain

Peter Gadol, Author
Peter Gadol, Author Picador USA $23 (298p) ISBN 978-0-312-15571-1
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-312-96638-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-312-96795-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-312-96796-3
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-312-26354-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4498-7727-9
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""Tending a modest crop, reaping its fruit--these are the quiet chores to which we can retreat and devote ourselves when we have... become the agents of tragedy and despair."" That's the quiet hope that illuminates this bucolic, milder-mannered Bonfire of the Vanities from thriller writer Gadol (Closer to the Sun; Coyote). Denied partnership in his San Francisco law firm and estranged from his wife and eight-year-old son, narrator Jason Dark returns to his neglected family vineyard in Hollister, Calif. For three years, he throws himself into amateur wine-making, starts a small-town law practice and gains his neighbors' respect. When at last he wins back his wife and son, Jason feels he's been given a second chance and that he's finally living where he belongs. Yet, perversely, he dreams of disappearing over the next hill on the long, reckless drives he secretly takes at night. On one of these drives, Jason hits and kills high-school soccer star Craig Montoya--then hides the body, drives home and starts lying. When a vagrant confesses to the crime, Jason takes the case as a public defender, infuriating the town. As his clients drift away, the dead boy haunts Jason, cracks widen in his marriage, his son withdraws, his autumn harvest fails. After his wife and son leave, Jason is forced to find a way to live with his guilty knowledge. Gadol keeps the solutions to his hero's moral dilemmas surprisingly complex, while the backdrop of California's wine country (full of four-poster beds, flower-filled vases and oak barrels) keeps the tale, even at its grimmest, disarmingly idyllic. $100,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Sept.)
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