It is the mid-80s in post-industrial America. In a small town graced with the decaying hulks of defunct factories, young journalist and college dropout Bill churns out lengthy essays on the death of industry and of America itself for The Daily Truth, whose scoops rarely rise above the latest home-bake contest. The static summer is punctured when local bad boy Ronny Lawton reports his father missing. A dismembered finger is found and all suspect the son of murdering his hated father, but nothing can be proved. The sorry tale of the white trash Lawtons hypnotises the town and Ronny Lawton becomes a local icon. Bill becomes increasingly obsessed with the story - he gets involved with Ronny's estranged wife, finds a decomposing human head, and ends up as a suspect in the murder case himself. Things come to a head and Ronny Lawton holds his wife, child and Bill hostage in a confrontation with the FBI. Bill escapes with the woman and child and contemplates the American dream gone sour.
Michael Collins was born in 1964 in Limerick, Ireland. He is the author of six novels, and two collections of short stories. His work has garnered numerous awards, including a Pushcart Award for Best American Short Stories, The Kerry Ingredients Irish Novel of the Year, along with being shortlisted for The Booker Prize and IMPAC Prize. Collins is also an extreme athlete and has won The Last Marathon in the Antarctic and set a record time in winning both The Himalayan 100 Mile Stage Race and The Everest Challenge Marathon. He is currently training for The North Pole Marathon in 2006. www.michaelcollinsauthor.com