Ray meets delightfully idiosyncratic characters like Lyle, Kit and Myra Jean Tuttle, who is "going through the change" and has flown into a plate-and-husband-breaking rage. Paul encounters a well-mannered gangster named Giles, the conniving actress Lizzie and two cops, one a polished ladies' man, the other grumpy and depressed. The city portraits are well-drawn, but they have an air of romance to them, as if they are seen through a slightly smudged car window, blurred in their passing.
Despite the challenges of shuttling between two such different landscapes, Pearson's book is great fun to read. Wry-witted and original, he lingers on unusual but telling details: Myra Jean's husband, upon being heaved out of his trailer by his irate wife, stands up and adjusts "with meticulous sartorial care his bright brass coverall zipper tab." Moments like this gleam in a novel of human unkindness and neglect. While not the place to look for happy endings or the sweeping grandeur of destiny, there many small, worthwhile fates to follow in Blue Ridge, and you will finish it with the understanding that it is never too late to look for a lost dog.