Russell Harmon is the self-proclaimed king of his small-town Idaho dart league, but all is not well in his kingdom. In the midst of the league championship match, the intertwining stories of those gathered at the 411 club reveal Russells dangerous debt to a local drug dealer, his teammate Tristan Mackeys involvement in the disappearance of a college student, and a love triangle with a former classmate.
The characters in Keith Lee Morriss second novel struggle to find the balance between accepting and controlling their destinies, but their fates are threaded together more closely than they realize.
The penchant for driving the plot of his fast-paced mystery novel is what makes Morris an author to watch. Each of the main characters receives enough stage time for the reader to really care about how these characters end up by the book's end. The creatively titled sections, colorful dialogue and inventive usage of literary tactics like stream-of-consciousness for the text written from Vince's perspective, as well as for the narration of the final dart match, keep the wheels constantly whirring. The only shortcoming is Kelly's slightly less-than-believable portrayal at points, as the male author's inevitable challenge is the convincing illustration of a female (especially a maternal figure). But the highlights of the book upstage this faltering and make every moment memorable. (Reviewed by Allison Stadd).
Starred Review. Morris cranks up the tension so that by the time the dart match arrives, the book is impossible to put down.
Starred Review. Morris continues to draw a subtle, near flawless portrait of the unique ways that small-town life can both nurture and suffocate its residents.
A dark and deeply involving novel with a haunting moment on just about every page. Suspenseful, gritty, great.
Robert Olen Butler, author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
What a testament it is to a splendid novelist's powers to pitch-perfectly create a small-town dart league and in doing so not only illuminate the zeitgeist but some universal truths to boot. The Dart League King is a nine-darter of a novel and Keith Lee Morris is a writer whose books I have promised myself never to skip.
Brock Clarke, author of An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England
Keith Morris is one of my favorite fiction writers and The Dart League King is his best book yet.
The origin of the game of darts is lost in the mists of time. The game is
known to have been played since at least the Middle Ages in England, but it
seems likely that bored soldiers lounging around the campsite have probably been
throwing arrows at targets for much longer. In fact, it doesn't take much
imagination to trace the origins much further back - to the first day that one
of our distant ancestors picked up a stone and lobbed it at a passing meal and,
on missing, decided to hone his skills throwing at a target.
Early darts boards were probably whatever came to hand, with wine barrels being
popular, as the cork bung in the center provided a convenient target.
Later, cross-sections of tree trunks were used - the growth rings and cracks in
the wood providing circular and radial divisions within the target (the current
system of numbers wasn't standardized until the early 20th century). At
some point, the game moved indoors, which led to shorter arrows being used, the
precursor to the darts used...
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