When Evan Carlyle, an escapee from the draft and now a CBC producer in Vancouver, comes back to Raysburg, West Virginia, to see his folks, the last person he hopes to run into is Alex Warner, his old high-school buddy. So, naturally, who does Evan run into? Alex--who went to Vietnam (but thinks Evan was smarter not to), now owns a garage that's being pinched by the oil companies, is married to a local girl, has two kids, and lives in a cardboard box of a tract house. But way-back-when, Alex was the wildest car racer, track star, and hell-raiser, so he grabs old Evan and they spend a night together of serious boozing and insane driving in the snow-covered hill roads. Memories, of course, are drawn back up: aching and mysterious memories--of Evan's old girlfriend Elaine Isaacs, daredevilish, sexy, inventive, going crazy in Raysburg, wanting to be an actress in New York; and blackly violent memories--about the exploits of Elaine's crazy father or of Frank Hospidarski, a local knee-breaker. Alex is a profane, stoppered-up, realistic, and ultimately very kind man who has been held back all these years by living up (or down) to his old high-school image; Maillard plainly likes him, and we do too. So, though there's nothing especially original here, this is a worthy fiction debut: base-secure novels about high-school recollected in adulthood are rarely this steady, this unpolluted by sentiment.