Summary and book reviews of The Dart League King by Keith Morris

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
    Paperback:
    Oct 2008, 210 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Allison Stadd

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About this Book

Book Summary

A dart contest on a Thursday night in Garnet Lake, Idaho brings together five very different characters, whose fates are threaded together more closely than they realize.

An intriguing tale of darts, drugs, and death.

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 Russell’s dangerous debt to a local drug dealer, his teammate Tristan Mackey’s involvement in the disappearance of a college student, and a love triangle with a former classmate.

The characters in Keith Lee Morris’s 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 Trouble with Liza Hatter

On the evening before his college graduation, Tristan Mackey walked into the campus library, probably with the notion of trying to steal or deface a book or two - he couldn’t seem to remember exactly now, but probably to do something of the sort, something to make him feel more like himself and less like the other self, the one that seemed like a version of Tristan borrowed by other people in order to suit their own purposes. At any rate, he was bent on making some sort of trouble, probably because he was a little drunk already, and the library, because it was quiet and secret, offered the sort of trouble he seemed to be looking for, which was quiet and secret trouble, the kind of trouble that would only be known to himself, that would have no consequences outside of his own head, that wouldn’t keep him from graduating.

The trouble he found there was Liza Hatter, a girl from his political science class. He found her in the ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Why do you think the author chose to use a third person point of view over a first person point of view? What difference does it make to the story?

  2. How did the rotating perspectives affect your reading of The Dart League King?

  3. Does the reader's opinion of the characters change considerably from start to finish? Who becomes more sympathetic? Who becomes less sympathetic? Why?

  4. Is the "Epilogue" really an epilogue? Why is it set in the present tense while the rest of the novel is in the past tense? Wouldn't it typically be the opposite?

  5. How does the town itself play a role in what happens?

  6. What has been the characters' experience growing up in the town? Does the town have a positive or negative influence on the ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

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).

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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.

McSweeney's

A dark and deeply involving novel with a haunting moment on just about every page. Suspenseful, gritty, great.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Morris cranks up the tension so that by the time the dart match arrives, the book is impossible to put down.

Author Blurb 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.

Author Blurb 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.

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Beyond the Book

A Short History of Darts

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 ...

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