Excerpt from The Dart League King by Keith L. Morris, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Dart League King

A Novel

by Keith L. Morris

The Dart League King
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Oct 2008, 210 pages
    Oct 2008, 210 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Allison Stadd

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

The details of the ten-mile drive from the turnoff to the lake house at Garfield Bay presented themselves to Tristan’s memory more clearly, as if in moving closer to the event things became sharper due to their proximity, like a kind of foreshadowing, or maybe just the opposite, that the event itself in its startling vividness had shone a light backward over the preceding hour. Even now, warming up for dart night at the 321, thinking about how Russell Harmon had been in the john for such a long time and what sort of drugs he had in his possession and whether he might be willing to share, because something like that might help him relax, he could recall the sight of the lake that night as they drove, visible through the cedar trees, sparkling with moonlight. He could recall also how the night had turned colder, how the wind curled in through the open window and helped to sober him as he took the winding turns, how from the stereo Mick Jagger had sneered his way through “Midnight Rambler.” And he could recall the conversation then, too, or not so much his own words, if there had been any, but Liza Hatter spilling out her life to him as she had been for the last three hours, poor dizzy Liza Hatter, dumber than a post, dumber even than Russell Harmon with his dart league and his score sheets and his puffed-up pride in his trivial abilities.

Liza Hatter, he recalled, had talked for several minutes about her plans to switch her major to veterinary science. She had already begun to take courses in preparation for the switch, and although she was sure she’d made the right decision because she just loved animals so much, she had been disturbed by a class in which her professor  her squeamishness at the opening of the sternum and the examination of the viscera, disdain for her sentimentality and lack of professional rigor, for her teary-eyed assertion that “this was someone’s best friend, this was once someone’s little puppy.” It seemed pretty nigh hopeless for Liza Hatter ever to become a veterinarian, but he allowed her to believe in his sympathy and understanding even while he was starting to hate her a little. And yet this conversation came back to him now daily, hourly, with a kind of poignant irony.

They arrived at the lake house. They carried their things inside. He searched through his parents’ CD collection, which wasn’t much to shout about, and put a Ray Charles disc in the player, the old Ray Charles stuff from the time when he still wrote his own songs and hadn’t yet become a clown. He showed her around the house, listened to her ooh and aah at the view of the lake from the tall windows, a view that he could have appreciated more himself if he’d been in the house alone. They sat out on the deck and drank beer and Liza Hatter scooted in close to him and kissed him and he lit a cigarette, because he didn’t want to kiss her then, was still finding her slightly repugnant, even despite the perfume she’d dabbed on in the upstairs bathroom.

It was her idea to go skinny-dipping. He agreed reluctantly, bored, bored, bored with the predictability of the suggestion but agreeing to play along, and preparing himself already for the iciness of the water at this time of year, an iciness that he knew would surprise her and probably send her swimming frantically back to the dock as soon as she dived in, so that he could escape for a few minutes and swim out into the lake alone.

They stripped at the end of the dock. The moon was almost new, and even with the lights shining down on them from the house there was a swarm of stars. To left and right were the rocky cliffs of the cove, the pine trees rising up and up in the night air, whispering faintly in accompaniment to the music from the house. They were entirely alone, he and Liza Hatter, he had to keep reminding himself of that these days, that there were no houses close enough for anyone to see or hear. Liza Hatter stood before him naked, as if she were backlit on a thrust stage. The long legs, the auburn hair, the coy smile, the soft and rather dainty breasts, the thin line of dark pubic hair - again he found something unsatisfying about her looks, and wished he’d had the patience to wait around longer for someone else.

Excerpted from The Dart League King by Keith Lee Morris. Copyright © 2008 by Keith Lee Morris. Excerpted by permission of Tin House Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
  • Book Jacket: The Mothers
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett
    Every now and then the publishing industry gushes about a young author destined to become the next ...
  • Book Jacket
    by Tom Jackson
    Growing up in Mumbai in the '70s, I still remember herbs kept fresh in small glasses of water, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    North of Crazy
    by Neltje

    The remarkable life of a woman who carves her own singular path.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Cruel Beautiful World
    by Caroline Leavitt

    A fast moving page-turner about the naiveté of youth and the malignity of power.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.