By Gregory Hill
Dutton, $25.95, 240 pages
Stacey “Shakes” Williams drives home to bury his cat with every intention of returning to Denver. But when he finds his senile father without a caretaker, the house falling apart, and the farm not only in debt but no longer making any money at all, Shakes isn’t going anywhere. The banker helped himself when he should have been helping Shakes’s dad, and now Shakes, an overweight anorexic bank teller, a paraplegic shut-in, and Shakes’s mechanical genius father—who can do incredible things when he remembers how—to set things right. And what better way to get back at a crooked banker than a bank robbery?
When I got up the next morning, things were clear. Sometimes that happens when you go to sleep with a lot of things on your mind.
East of Denver’s got a wry voice that’s both smart and interesting. Shakes is feckless yet likeable, and his relationship with his father is well done as their parent and child roles are reversed. The deadpan dark humor that makes up their conversations alone would make the book worth reading. All the characters are quirky if not downright bizarre and you never really know how things are going to play out. A witty, snarky, and thoroughly enjoyable read.
Reviewed by Leah Sims