Jono Riley is an aging bartender and part-time actor in Manhattan who specializes in one-character plays, usually performed in front of an audience sized in the low one digit. He still lives by himself in an Upper East Side walk-up, and though he’s got a great girlfriend, a firefighter named Renee, his life is stuck and his acting career is going nowhere fast. News of the sudden death of his childhood friend Marie D’Agostino, his first true love, compels Jono to return for a few days to the place he grew up, the working-class neighborhoods of East Providence, Rhode Island. McLarty weaves the story of Jono’s return with that of his coming-of-age in the early 1960s, including the story of a series of mysterious shootings, one of which lodged a bullet in Marie’s back when she was 12.
When Renee joins Jono in East Providence, they find themselves drawn into an attempt to find the person responsible for the shootings so long ago. As the truth emerges, Jono is forced to come to terms with a past that is not quite what he remembers.
What both readers and critics alike celebrated in McLarty’s first novel – the main character you come to root for, the funny, pitch-perfect dialogue, the writing that is so full of warmth and drama and authenticity – is here again in this fine-tuned and riveting new novel.
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