I wanted to like "The Dart League King." I saw the author was going to appear at Wordstock, and the plot summary reminded me of high-school friend who liked to spend his time in smokey bars working the darts league. Unfortunately, I ended up missing Wordstock, but I still got to read the book.
As I worked my way into the story it seemed to play like out Hemingway's short story, "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber," except the lion is a stream-of-consciousness spewing drug dealer, the guide is a covert DEA agent, and the safari takes place in the 321 bar on Thursday night. Or maybe it's not like that at all.
The events take place in a single night, but the book explores the lives of many of the lead characters through multiple flashbacks, and other clever mechanisms. The characters start out as stereotypes, but the back stories help flesh them out (although they are still "types").
A couple of places it gets predictable, but Morris manages to pull out of that enough to keep the story exciting. In my opinion the lead character is ok, but Vince, the drug dealer's internal narrative makes the story really outstanding.
My rating: The Dart League King by Keith Lee Morris is worth reading. Published by Tin House books.
Here's the jacket plot:
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 321 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 together than they realize.