From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
It's October 1980, and laid-back loner Vince Camden never misses a morning making maple bars at the doughnut shop he manages in Spokane, Washington. And he rarely misses a night relieving locals of their bankrolls at an after-hours poker game, selling his hooker pals pot at cost, and running a lucrative credit-card theft ring. Vince has landed in eastern Washington via the witness-protection plan, and he is starting to like the simple pleasures, including receiving his first voter-registration card. So even when a hit man, a local cop, and Mob-boss-in-waiting John Gotti get Vince in their crosshairs, he keeps trying to figure out if he should pull the lever for Reagan or Carter. This tale of unlikely redemption works because of Walter's virtuoso command of character and dialogue--along with a wicked second-act twist. The novel is also a gritty love letter to Spokane and all the other second-tier cities where residents don't realize how good they've got it, and with its Capara-like spirit, it serves as a surprisingly satisfying antidote to the avalanche of cynical chatter emanating from this year's political campaigns and commentators. --Frank Sennett Copyright 2004 Booklist
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Even though he is a low-level criminal hiding out in witness protection, Vince Camden is a likable fellow, trying to figure out his life and fix all he has done wrong. It is eight days before the 1980 election between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, and Vince, who has just received his voter registration card under his new name, has decided that he needs to vote since it will make him a "real" citizen. As he desperately tries to decide between the two candidates, he must also deal with a hit man who has blown his cover, handle a love life that involves a needy call girl, travel to New York City to make amends to the mob, and, finally, accept that his life as a baker in a small town is really not such a bad thing. What makes Walter's third novel (after Over Tumbled Graves and Land of the Blind) so enjoyable is Vince, a flawed but sympathetic character trying to find redemption. Recommended for most fiction collections.-Marianne Fitzgerald, Anne Arundel Cty. Schs., Annapolis, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.