Wire to Wire by Scott Sparling
(A Tin House New Voice)

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Wire to Wire assembles a cast of train-hopping, drug-dealing, glue-huffing lowlifes, tells a harrowing tale of friendship and loss, and creates a stunning portrait of Northern Michigan in the late 1970s.

While riding a freight car through Detroit, Michael Slater suffers a near-fatal accident—a power line to the head. After recovering, he tries to lead a quiet life in the desert, but his problems just follow him. Slater returns to his native Michigan to seek out his old train-hopping pal, only to find that the Pleasant Peninsula of his youth is none too pleasant. Before long he finds his way into a love triangle, gets caught in the schemes of the resident drug lord, and manages to end up on the wrong side of everyone and everything in the small town of Wolverine. When the violent sociopath Slater left to die in the desert tracks him down, the chance of getting out of this hell unscathed starts to look slim.

Three years later, Slater sits in a dark video-editing suite, popping speed like penny candy, trying to reconcile himself with the unfilmed memories that haunt his screens and his conscience.

Scott Sparling’s debut novel, with echoes of Robert Stone and Denis Johnson, pays homage to one of our most popular and enduring genres—the American crime novel.

About Scott Sparling

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Scott Sparling grew up near railroad tracks in Southern Michigan and later attended Antioch College. Wire to Wire is his first novel. Large portions of it were written in Northern Michigan, Seattle, Portland, and in a tree house near Sucker Lake. He now lives outside Portland, Oregon with his wife and son.
Published June 1, 2011 by Tin House Books. 402 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Wire to Wire

Kirkus Reviews

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With Dexedrine-slamming rail riders, a glue-sniffing femme fatale and a lead protagonist whose point of view is skewed under the best of circumstances, the book is a worthy combination of Bob Seger nostalgia and dope-fueled noir, but it’s not always the easiest story to follow.

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Publishers Weekly

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When rail rider Michael Slater gets smacked in the head by a power line while riding a train through Detroit, it sets his life on a course no boxcar could follow.

Feb 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Wire to Wire (A Tin House New...

Open Letters Monthly

Wire to Wire isn’t really a novel about jumping trains.

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Oregon Live

Fleeing a murderous encounter with a sociopathic cowboy, Slater lands in Michigan and becomes entangled with a cast of damaged characters that includes Harp's glue-sniffing lover, Lane, and her impotent brother, Charlie, who runs a brothel on Lake Michigan.

Jun 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Wire to Wire (A Tin House New...

Portland Book Review

Wire to Wire, the first novel from Portland-based author Scott Sparling, shines.

May 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Wire to Wire (A Tin House New...

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