Waiting for the Green Flash by Bob Guess
Until recently, Elden “Choppy” Spencer was an officer in the Marine Corps who was as much renowned for his wit as he was for his physically aggressive, results-driven attitude, the combination of which made him no small shortage of friends and enemies among the Corps. But when a life-changing accident results in Choppy being cut loose from the Corps, he decides to make a fresh start for himself in a beachfront Californian town outside of San Diego. Soon, Choppy becomes acquainted with the numerous characters who live together on the narrow street he comes to call “the Row.” There’s Lara, a recently divorced and fiercely argumentative – not to mention attractive – teacher; Hugh Spicer, a retired baseball scout and the group’s unofficial ringleader; the Steroid Brothers, who live next door to Choppy and can frequently be seen chugging beers between workout sessions; and numerous others. But even a neighborhood as quaint and sunny as this one cannot escape the horrors that plague the human mind. As Choppy struggles to assimilate into his new community, a series of increasingly brutal crimes puts the denizens of the Row on edge. Choppy and the others must now come together and protect the fragile paradise they’ve created, or else risk watching it fall to pieces around them.
Waiting for the Green Flash is both a careful character study on a variety of intriguing specimens and one man’s journey of self-rediscovery. Guess’s cast comes alive in a way that brings the beaches and environs of California surging to life around readers and will threaten to sweep their feet out from under them with the simple but effective beauty of the novel’s narrative. Flash is not only a story about the indefatigability of modern man – it is a powerful testament to the gradually eroding but irreplaceable influence of community in Western society.
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