cover image Our Secret's Out: Stories

Our Secret's Out: Stories

Darrell Spencer. University of Missouri Press, $24.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-8262-0927-6

Spencer's deliciously ironic, beguiling stories offer disturbing reports about life in the contemporary American West. In ``Union Business,'' a union lawyer struggles to come to terms with his macho, remote father--the union's boss--who is rumored to be a murderer. Another sensitive parent-sibling study, ``Hops,'' deals with a childish, emotionally disturbed, pregnant woman who's married to her father's business partner, a man twice her age. Reality keeps smashing Spencer's characters in the face, as when the cocky Las Vegas golf rookie in ``Song and Dance'' tries to con his wealthy uncle into loaning him a huge sum; instead, his uncle gets him a desk job at a juvenile penal center processing thieves, hookers and drug pushers. Spencer ( A Woman Packing a Pistol ) evinces sympathetic insight into people living on the edge, like the agoraphobic retiree in ``Halloween'' who looses his Doberman on nasty trick-or-treaters, or the divorced woman in the title story who finds refuge from her stalking ex-husband in the arms of an actor who carries his role as a ``Toad'' into real life. (Nov.)