cover image The One-Way Bridge

The One-Way Bridge

Cathie Pelletier. Sourcebooks Landmark, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4022-8073-3

In her 10th novel (after Running the Bulls), Pelletier spends a week in tiny Mattagash, Maine, examining the public lives and private despairs of its residents. Mailman Orville Craft knows everyone in town but none better than “cantankerous” Harry Plunkett. It’s Harry’s tacky mailbox that gets under Orville’s skin, so much so that he considers retirement. Orville’s trouble getting a good balance of life and work has strained his marriage. Harry battles the harrowing memories he’s carried since Vietnam. Edna, Harry’s adrift niece, longs for a more artistic life, and is considering leaving her husband. And Billy Thunder is back in town, a small-time drug dealer, handyman, and heir to a century-old curse. Only occasionally precious, Pelletier expertly jumps about her large cast, showing their external peculiarities and revealing their inner lives piece by piece until their actions shift from strange to unavoidable. Written in vignettes and character sketches, the story really only comes together at the end, but Pelletier’s fans and readers fond of quirky smalltown tales will enjoy the ride. Agent: Jennifer DeChiara, the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency. (May)