Powerboat Racer – Thomas Hollyday
Powerboat Racer is set in modern times in Maryland, as a newspaper reporter investigates a seemingly casual story about a sunken boat. However, the story quickly delves deeply into the dark past of the town, one torn by racial conflict in the 1960s. While it might seem that the issues are long behind them, it becomes clear that even in modern times the color of one’s skin makes a world of difference.
I enjoyed the story a lot. Sometimes racially charged books can be heavy handed, with individuals either being shiningly good or staggeringly evil. Here the characters feel realistic, caught up in a situation created by their own parents, struggling to do the best they can while bouncing against a variety of influences. Human beings are not perfect. They make mistakes, they agonize over their regrets, and they do the best they can to make up for their flaws.
I also enjoyed the setting of the story – along the swampy, gnat-infested marshes of Maryland. I got the sense that I was there in this unique location, learning more about the riverside way of live, what it might have been like.