“We’re shutting the newspaper down.” Carson McCullough replays the phrase over in his head, not wanting to believe that the message is real.
His entire career has been devoted to the Argus-Dispatch, housed in an office on Julep Street, in a fictional town in Kentucky. He started here, fresh out of college, and worked his way up to the editor’s desk. “It was where a guy could make enough scratch to buy a house and raise a family. And if there were something more he wanted, he could follow the ladder.”
Time and technology are deemed the culprits, in the eyes of the owners. But to McCullough and his colleagues, “now the ladder’s gone, the whole idea of linear progression in their business is gone. The Argus-Dispatch is gone.”
Having his career abruptly jerked out from under him sends McCullough on a road trip with his aging Labrador, Hector, leading to a sequence of events that he could not have previously imagined for himself.
The rational side of McCullough tells him to go find another job. But the stinging affects of loss, betrayal and regret send him careening off on tangents to recoup lost affection and clarify a family relationship.
McCullough had always struggled with the question of faith, eschewing it as a crutch that some people needed as a cover-up when bad things happened. Maybe a little faith is what he needs now to redefine himself.
With insight, humor and his characteristic frankness, Craig Lancaster introduces readers to “a good man who has lost his way and is struggling against himself to set things right.” Along the way, he explores the disintegration of newspapers – a theme the former newsman knows well.
Lancaster is the award-winning author of seven novels, including 600 Hours of Edward, and a collection of short stories. He resides in Billings with his wife, author Elisa Lorello.
– Judy Shafter