cover image Somebody’s Fool

Somebody’s Fool

Richard Russo. Knopf, $29 (464p) ISBN 978-0-593-31789-1

Russo (Nobody’s Fool) concludes his North Bath trilogy with a wise and witty drama of small-town life. Donald “Sully” Sullivan, the hero of the first two books, has been dead for 10 years, a loss that many of the characters in this volume continue to grapple with. Sully’s son, Peter, who always assumed he was destined for bigger and better things than small-town North Bath, N.Y., sticks around to renovate his father’s Victorian house. Meanwhile, former police chief Douglas Raymer contemplates the loss of his job after the town was annexed by its richer neighbor, Schuyler Springs. Adding to the complications for Raymer, his longtime girlfriend is made the new Schuyler Springs police chief. But it’s Peter’s estranged son, Thomas, who sets the plot in motion when he shows up in North Bath unannounced. Thomas claims he’s just passing through on his way to Montreal, but Peter believes otherwise, and circumstances soon suggest more sinister motivations involving revenge for Peter’s abandonment of Thomas as a child. Russo gets a slow start, laying on a bit too much backstory at the outset, but the novel soon picks up speed, delivering the generous humor, keen ear for dialogue, and deep appreciation for humanity’s foibles that have endeared the author to his readers for decades. Though Sully is gone, his world is alive and well. (July)