cover image The Spark and the Drive

The Spark and the Drive

Wayne Harrison. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-04124-1

It’s 1985, and unpopular 17-year-old Justin Bailey lands an internship at Out of the Hole, a garage specializing in muscle cars in Waterbury, Conn. There, he’s surrounded by a cast of gearheads and rubs elbows with Nick Campbell, the shop’s owner and mechanical guru, who takes Justin under his wing. Working for Nick full-time after graduating high school, Justin entwines himself in his boss’s life, befriending him, learning about the loss of Nick’s toddler, and eventually having an affair with his wife, Mary Ann. Meanwhile, Justin and Nick take to drag racing an ultra-rare Corvette left at the shop after it’s owner, a Miami drug dealer, is murdered. Money and lies pile up, and it isn’t long before Nick confesses secrets to his protégé that force Justin to question their relationship. A tale of growing up—Harrison’s debut novel crackles with life, immersing the reader in the world of muscle cars while weaving a complex narrative that oscillates between the familiar and the unusual. A smart, insightful read. (July)