by Julie HaleFebruary, 2005
This fearless new novel from the National Book Award-winning author of Paris Trout explores issues of race in 1950s California. As a sergeant in the San Diego police department, Miller Packard is a man of few illusions, bored with life and ready to take new risks. He's also a frequent golfer at the Brookline Country Club, and when he meets a 17-year-old black caddy named Lionel "Train" Walk, who plays the game with the skill and brilliance of a true champion, Packard's life takes an unforeseen turn. Because he is black, despite his talent, Train spends most of his time at Brookline carrying other people's clubs. But Packard soon takes Train under his wing, turns him into a golf shark and wins big money thanks to the teen's rare gift. Meanwhile, Packard has a murder to solve and a woman to save one Norah Rose, whose husband was brutally killed when the couple's boat was hijacked. As Packard and Norah fall in love, the tightly constructed plot moves towards an explosive ending. The lives of the three characters intersect in unexpected ways, and the result is a noir novel characterized by smart dialogue, sharply rendered characters, and a tense narrative line. Train is a sleek, unsparing book another tour de force from Dexter. A reading group guide is available in print and online at www.readinggroupcenter.com.