By Scott Sparling
Tin House Press, $15.95, 391 pages
It’s rare to find so many interesting and compelling characters in a single book. Wire to Wire, the first novel from Portland-based author Scott Sparling, shines. As a self-described freight-rider, Harp knows “there is no stopping the going”. He and his friend Slater hopped a moving freight train and stood in a loaded wood chip car at night. Slater looked up in time to see a power line hanging low over the train. He pushed his friend out of the way but could not avoid the wire himself. His rehab took him to Arizona, where he encountered some unusual people who would alter his future. A widow sold him her late husband’s Ranchero, not knowing it held a fortune in stolen drug money. As he drove back across the country looking for Harp, he was unaware of the evil man following him. Suspense builds as complications pile up in his life. The first few chapters seem disjointed and hard to track, but it is well worth the effort to follow the story to the end. While the book appears at first to be only about drug dealers and users, and thieves, murderers and other miscreants, the main characters become appealing, and there is a wonderful philosophy that shines through in their words, actions and thoughts.
Reviewed by Fran Byram