Wisniewski's novel, billed as a work of literary suspense, introduces readers to two people whose paths cross through tragedy and misfortune.
Deesh is a black man awaiting trial on charges of murder. He isn’t crazy about his lawyer or his chances until a pretty white girl, Jan Price, comes to see him. Jan tells him she has information that can exonerate him. The story is told in alternating chapters by Deesh and Jan, who reach back over the past and recount where their lives took individual turns that ended with their intersection. For Deesh, it began when his old basketball buddies, Bark and James, took him to a place north of Poughkeepsie, New York, to pick up an old barrel that obviously held a body. After being paid for their deed, the three men drove to a wooded area and dumped the barrel, then panicked. They decided to run but gambled their pay on the horses to up their take and then Bark killed a cop while he and Deesh were fleeing. Meanwhile, Jan and her mother moved from Arkansas to stay with their old friends Tom and Colleen Corcoran, whose son, Tug, owns a failing horse farm. In her quest to become a jockey like her father, Jan starts digging deep into the racing culture with the result that she and Tug start to fall in love. Wisniewski runs into several problems in his approach to the material: Deesh, who is stuck in an interesting situation, is so stereotypical that readers will find him more caricature than character; while Jan’s jumbled story has odd interludes where Tug’s thoughts and feelings entwine with her own. The result: confusing, sometimes-lackluster prose.
Wisniewski fails to take into account how modern police forensics would have implicated others and, in at least one case, cleared Deesh altogether in this very odd outing.