By Martin Bannon
Dinkus Books 14.99 301 pages
The Oregon Cascades are a scenic, forested mountain range, but one that shelters an unusual assortment of people. Senseless Confidential takes us down logging roads and into the lives of some of those people with a story that is funny, adventurous and strangely believable.
Nick Prince is a part-time Census employee, sent to ascertain headcounts deep in the forests. Along the way he discovers mayhem and misfits, old friends and new friends, lost love and new love. Alas, the mayhem leads to arrests and court proceedings, hampered by the strict confidentiality rules to which Census employees are sworn.
“What this means in real life application is that if I’m visiting your neighbor for a Census interview, and I happen to see you shoot his dog, I can report you- but if I see your neighbor shoot your dog, my lips are sealed, because I’m at his place on Census business. Same rule applies, by the way, if he’s got you in his sights instead of your dog.”
While told in a style reminiscent of Bill Bryson’s writings, Nick’s tale explores human stories including sectarian religious life, domestic violence, homosexuality, and challenges our notions about family. This book can be enjoyed as a light summer read or contemplated for what we can learn about our community and ourselves. The setting of the story will be enjoyed by locals and might tempt others to visit, if not to go quite so far off the beaten trail.
Reviewed by Brenda Searle