By Brad Smith
(Henry Holt and Co., Hardcover, 9780805076509, 320pp.)
Publication Date: January 13, 2005
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Civil War buffs and con men collide in this wickedly funny, Hiaasen-esque story of old-time relics and modern greed
Dock Bass is a carpenter-turned-realtor in upstate New York. He has a social-climbing wife he doesn't love (or even like), a job he hates, and a rapidly crumbling sense of self-respect and self-worth. Like a lot of people, he yearns for a change. Like very few, he decides to leave his life behind, hit the road, and go looking for it.
He finds it in Pennsylvania, of all places. Summoned to Gettysburg by a law firm, he learns that he's inherited an ancient house from a deceased relative whom he never knew existed. Renovating the place, Dock stumbles upon a treasure trove of Civil War memorabilia squirreled away in an old root cellar, including pictures and possibly even a recording of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg. And in a world where John Kennedy's golf clubs are worth $750,000, what dollar figure does one place on items connected to the greatest American president at the venue of his most inspiring and memorable speech?
Plenty, Dock soon finds out, as he's forced to defend his new find from the onslaught of collectors, history buffs, and media hounds descending on his doorstep. Fortunately, like Honest Abe himself, he's the right man for the fight-independent, funny, loyal, and stubborn as a Missouri mule. When the scallywags and opportunists-including an easy-on-the-eyes television reporter with one hell of an attitude-start crawling out of the woodwork, he'll need all of that.
And maybe a little more.
Brad Smith lives in Dunnville, Ontario. His novel, One-Eyed Jacks, was nominated for Canada's Dashiell Hammett Prize. His American debut, All Hat (0-312-42317-9), is available in paperback from Picador.
“In Busted Flush, battle flares anew in Gettysburg, Pa.--this time, between Civil War collectors, professors, re-enactors, swindlers, barflies, and other irregulars. The action swings north and south, from the 19th to the 21st century, with dialogue that crackles like musket fire. Brad Smith's novel is true to Gettysburg's heroic past and madcap present, and a deliciously entertaining tale of uncivil war over the legacy of America's greatest conflict.”
--Tony Horwitz, author of Confederates in the Attic
More than 150 writers from 40 events will gather in New York City for PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, April 28 – May 4, 2014.
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