Precarious

Chris Katsaropoulos, Author . Luminis $16.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-935462-27-9

The lovelorn characters in Riske's debut collection are riven by confusion, to sometimes charming, sometimes infuriating effect. In the title tale, Casey Ford, a San Francisco ad executive married for 26 years, flirts with the idea of having an affair; the troubling memories his wayward thoughts arouse render the possible affair more trouble than it's worth, and in the end he realizes he wouldn't have the gumption for it anyway. Similarly timid characters find the thought richer than the deed, such as the college-bound narrator of “Sleeping with Smiley,” a rower who is faced with the perfect opportunity to sleep with the girlfriend of his rowing partner and best friend (moreover, she really wants to) and turns it down. Bill and Jody meet at church in “Just Admit It” and entertain a mutual attraction, only for Bill to tell the crestfallen girl, as he scrambles to think of a suitable line of scripture: “We just got Christian love mixed up with the other kind.” The reader might laugh if the characters were drawn with some depth. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 11/16/2009
Release date: 10/01/2009
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