Preacher's Lake

Lisa Vice, Author
Lisa Vice, Author Dutton Books $27.95 (472p) ISBN 978-0-525-94436-2
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Vice (Reckless Driver) brings pizzazz to the cast of small-town types who people the fictional Maine town of her title. These include the regulars at the diner; the bachelor who lives with his mother; the loose waitress with her second child on the way; lesbian couples in various stages of relationship; a provincial, glad-handing politician; and newcomers escaping from their pasts and hoping to find redemption in a rural place that makes few demands on them beyond survival. Luckily, Vice salts these stereotypes with such originals as Lizzy, a middle-aged, infertile nurse at the local clinic who sees countless unexpected and unwanted pregnancies; Crystal, a slow-witted adolescent who seems to have the gift of prophecy; Slim, a hapless loner in charge of the town dump, who finds himself the sole support of another man's children. Like Garrison Keillor, Vice displays a knack for delving into small-town life and intertwining disparate stories into a cohesive idiosyncratic world where everyone (despite obvious differences in age, race, profession, education and sexual orientation) is essentially looking for the same thing: a safe home, family, belonging. With an adroit mix of humor and pathos and a sure grasp of vernacular speech and gossip, Vice creates a world where readers can spend quality time. (June)
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