Grove Press: Elements of Fiction by Walter Mosley

Chances Are...

With his 14th novel, Chances Are..., Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Russo (Empire Falls, Elsewhere) offers readers both vintage Russo themes and something new--a mystery to be solved. Russo has always excelled at writing empathetic and compelling novels dealing with small towns, loyalty, male bonding and unrequited love. His skill as a wordsmith is matched by his sly sense of humor and clever, tangy dialogue. Chances Are... adds a mystery element to the mix and creates an intoxicating and engrossing novel.

A trio of 66-year-old men, dorm-mates in college, reunite at a Martha's Vineyard beach house to reconnect and remember Memorial Day weekend, 1971. That was the weekend the self-dubbed "Three Musketeers"--Lincoln, Teddy and Mickey--invited their beautiful female friend Jacy to join them. All three were secretly in love with her. After that weekend, she disappeared from their lives. Now, Lincoln is a successful real estate broker with six kids; Teddy is the publisher of a small university press who suffers debilitating panic attacks; and Mickey has become a hard-living rock musician. The mysterious, missing Jacy is the center of everyone's attention, then and now, as the novel continually flips back to the 1960s and '70s. Although all three were in love with her, how well did they actually know her?

As usual, Russo is the master of creating full-blooded, quirky characters who haunt readers long after the last page. Chances Are... is a rich, satisfying and splendid novel that stands among Russo's best works. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant