BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Jim Lehrer's Tension City .
Ever reliable and responsible, Otis Halstead is a father, a husband (one half of a “well-dressed couple of substance”), and the CEO of Kansas Central Fire and Casualty. He has never done anything out of the ordinary. Until now.
The change in Otis starts with an antique toy fire truck, the exact model he had pined for at age ten but never received. Though it is now a collectible costing $12,350, he will buy it–because he can. Next comes a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun, ordered from the Nostalgia Today catalog. A Kansas City Chiefs regulation NFL helmet follows. But Otis’s real coup is the purchase of his one true childhood passion: a red 1952 Cushman Pacemaker motor scooter. For his baffled wife, Sally, this is the final straw. She insists that he see a shrink– a sloppy man with flowing hair who uses terms like “mature men in crisis” and “second childhood syndrome.” Otis is unimpressed–and extremely insulted–by the doctor’s insinuation that his baldness is to blame for his sudden interest in toys.
But it’s not until tragedy strikes uncomfortably close to home that Otis decides he wants out of his sensible, safe life in Eureka, Kansas. And so, a few weeks before his sixtieth birthday, Otis leaves town, heading west on old U.S. 56, a corporate CEO wearing a football helmet, riding a forty-year-old motor scooter, and with a BB gun strapped to the side. One might say he was in for an adventure. Otis would say he was finally about to experience life.
Jim Lehrer has created an acute, laugh-out-loud, and endearing portrait of American middle age. With abundant wit and a sharp sense of the lives most of us lead, Eureka takes us on a journey through the unfulfilled dreams of childhood. In Otis Halstead, Lehrer has created his most brilliant and winning character to date.
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|Title of Suspense & Thrillers eBook: Eureka|
|Release Date: 03-24-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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A toy fire truck set off the series of events that changed the life of Otis Halstead, CEO of Kansas Central Fire and Casualty. The small cast-iron vehicle was for sale at the Great Prairie Antiques Show at the Marriott Eureka–East on a Saturday afternoon in March. Otis’s wife, Sally, had pretty much forced him to attend the show’s kickoff luncheon because, as one of the leading businessmen and citizens here in Eureka, Kansas, he should be seen supporting such a good cause—the battered women’s mental health shelter run by the Ashland Clinic. Also, their good friend Mary Gidney was the cochair of the whole thing. Sally then insisted that Otis go with her on a quick walk through the show in the hotel’s large exhibition hall. “Why not at least take a look at what is being offered for sale?” she said. More than five hundred antiques dealers from more than thirty states had set up. “That’s it!” Otis shouted. “I found it!” He aimed an index finger at something in the stall of a dealer from Connecticut. He seemed to be pointing toward an expensive Chippendale dining room chest. “That cabinet doesn’t fit with our decor, and it’s probably a fortune anyhow,” Sally said. “What’s the matter with you, Otis? Lower your voice.” “The fire engine, not the cabinet,” he said. “That red one with the white rubber tires and the firemen sitting in the seats in front and standing on both sides of the rear running boards.” The words came rushing out loudly. “I wanted one of those for Christmas when I was five years old. I wanted it so badly it gave me diarrhea.” “All r...