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Date: August 29, 2005
“I was no great fan of the theory, embraced wholeheartedly by my father, that a person could suddenly arrive at a new understanding of the world and decide to change his life overnight,” says Jack Acheson, narrator of Whitney Terrell’s second, painfully realistic novel. Terrell describes Acheson’s life in Missouri -- a life dominated by his charismatic father, Alton, a golf fan with the heart of a crook. The fallout from his get-rich-quick schemes -- including moving a black community into white neighborhoods to lower property values -- at first embarrasses Jack, then leads him to pity Alton. Hatred boils after a tragic incident -- manhandled by Alton -- that forces young Jack and his high school sweetheart to separate. Fans of cynical narratives and damaged heroes (those who found Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections light reading, for example) will take to The King of Kings County, but others will be put off by Terrell’s reverential treatment of dysfunctional relationships.