Berkley, Feb 2003, 6.99, 400 pp.
In Glen Oaks, New York, retired racing car champ Tucker “Menace” Quaid comes to town to try to revive the flailing track. He accepted the invitation of the town leaders because he feels guilty that ten years ago his driving caused the death of a local rival Danny Donovan. Danny's teenage son Ron hates Tucker and slashes the visitor's vehicle. The police arrest Ron for the vandalism, but his mom Beth and his Uncle Linc Grayson intercede. When Tucker learns who the teen is he wants to let him go because he blames himself for the lad's troubles. Shockingly, neither Beth nor Linc accuse him of negligence.
Tucker's presence leads to Ron spinning further out of control. Adding to his woes is that his mother and his father's killer are falling in love. The members of the Outlaws, a former gang of disenfranchised teens in the early 1980s, are divided with what Tucker did to one of them and the support he receives from their former leader Linc and his sister Beth.
This contemporary romance provides the audience with a strong psychological look at the surviving five members of the Outlaws, Ron, and Tucker. Each one of these seven characters carries tons of baggage with their ability to cope and adapt varying. That makes for a deep read, but the complexity of so much mental stress is difficult to follow. Readers will trust in Kathryn Shay to provide a thought-provoking novel that focuses on how nurturing makes the adult complete.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner