Hardway, 2004 (2004)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth
ick Nichols lives in Las Vegas with his wife and college-age daughter. He works for an advertising agency, but when he asks for a leave of absence to attempt to win a contest with a million dollars as the prize, his boss responds with an unequivical 'No'.
ow unemployed, Nichols recruits a basketball coach to train him to throw a free shot. If he can dunk it in one try, he wins the money from a soda company after some nationwide PR. Training becomes his new job. He constantly carries a regulation basketball with him '
to get the feel
'. He has four weeks to perfect his shot. Can he do it? If he does, will the victory be as great as he thinks it will be? Will it change his and his family's lives? He has made promises to other people. Will he let them down? Can he hold up under the pressure?
une in. Follow Nick's progress on the court. This is only Brian Rouff's second novel. It reads like a tenth or eleventh. The pacing is tops. Action keeps the reader turning the pages. The characterization is fun and insightful. The relationship between Nick and his wife Pam is a delight. Rouff seems to instinctively know what motivates people, and he uses that knowledge well. A wannabe writer would benefit from reading Rouff's two books. His skill with dialogue places the reader in each conversation, ready to interject their own observations and opinions. I held my breath as I raced through the $1,000,000 free shot scene. How else could it end? The anti-climax was perfect.
he behind the scenes life of the residents of Las Vegas intrigued me. I'm sure tourists and gamblers who go there don't give a thought to what it must be like to live in a city overrun by transients. A delightful book. Fun and full of bon mots about life in general. Also full of good and frequent laughs. Don't miss
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