cover image Sins of Our Fathers

Sins of Our Fathers

Shawn Lawrence Otto. Milkweed, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-1-57131-109-2

This stylish novel from film and TV writer/producer Otto (author of the nonfiction book Fool Me Twice) concerns J.W., a smalltown bank president whose gambling addiction causes his life to spiral out of control. One year after his son Chris’s dies in an auto crash while driving stoned, J.W. abandons his harried wife, Carol, and his teenaged daughter, Julie. When J.W.’s embezzlement of bank funds to cover his betting losses is uncovered, his boss fires him and then coerces him into spying on the local competition. J.W. relocates to live in a trailer and spies on Johnny Eagle, who is establishing a new tribal bank on the Ojibwe reservation. J.W. befriends Johnny’s surly teenaged son, Jacob, takes a menial job bagging rice, and begins a romance with Johnny’s alcoholic sister-in-law, Mona. J.W.’s situation resolves in a rousing and satisfying climax. Otto’s wonderfully vivid debut narrative is reminiscent of well-known crime novelist William Kent Krueger. (Nov.)