cover image Ring on Deli

Ring on Deli

Eric Giroux. New Salem, $17 trade paper (280p) ISBN 978-1-73422-400-9

Quirky characters take a stand against a supermarket in Giroux’s nimble debut. Pennacook, a rundown Massachusetts town home to wandering feral boars, barely survived the Great Recession. In 2013, Pennacook’s residents (called Pennies) depend primarily on the town’s largest employer, Bounty Bag supermarket. Working in the store’s deli is 23-year-old Ray Markham, the legal guardian of his 16-year-old brother Patrick since their parents died six years earlier. Ray juggles Patrick’s teen angst and alcohol abuse, and is heartbroken to learn his brother is involved in local thug Muscles Carbonara’s smuggling operation. After Bounty Bag’s board of directors fires beloved CEO Angie Martini, the store’s employees strike, and Ray must decide if he will join them or try to keep the store open. Meanwhile, high school principal Dr. Chong and Selectman Archie Simmons need Bounty Bag to remain a going concern in order to achieve their plans of funneling taxpayer money into building a new high school, and the boars’ activity escalates from nuisance to full-scale destruction. Readers will enjoy Giroux’s colorful descriptions of the struggling town, where the Pennies spout literary references (“Don’t make good the enemy of perfect,” Ray’s manager tells him) and get by on pure gumption. This author has talent to burn. (Self-published)