cover image The Big Finish

The Big Finish

Brooke Fossey. Berkley, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-1-9848-0493-8

In Fossey’s delightful debut, an elderly man finds a new lease on life after a surprise visit from his nursing home roommate’s granddaughter. Duffy Sinclair is leading a placid life in Everton, Tex., when Josie, his roommate Carl Upton’s previously unmentioned granddaughter, bursts into their room through a window, drunk and looking for a place to crash. Reeling from the recent death of her mother—Carl’s love child—and running from her abusive live-in boyfriend, Josie, an alcoholic, has nowhere else to go. The two men’s efforts to keep Josie’s presence in their room on the down low (and keep Josie’s abusive ex at bay) make for a sparkling, well-plotted treat. Duffy, a recovering alcoholic, grows invested in Josie’s well-being along with his own, while Carl mourns his stillborn son. The avaricious owner of the nursing home plays the villain, overcharging guests for repairs and sending those with signs of infirmity to a far grimmer home, while a sympathetic chef looks out for Duffy, Carl, and Josie. Fossey’s portrayal of Josie’s alcohol addiction and her efforts to recover draw sympathy, along with Duffy’s hard-won, sometimes white-knuckle sobriety. A completely logical yet somehow unexpected ending will leave readers smiling—and looking forward to Fossey’s next effort. [em](Apr.) [/em]