Thirty-something Cash Stetson is a multi-talented hunk of handsome who has a long history of spectacular mistakes that hurt his entire community. When the reader meets him in LOSER’S ROAD, he’s on the lam from legal problems in his hometown of Brooks, Oklahoma.
A one-time, high school football hero who blew his team’s championship season, Cash has grown up ruining every romance in his life, including marriage. He’s a former MD who has lost his license and the trust of Brooks’ citizens by seriously mismanaging the community hospital. Cash is also an alcoholic and compulsive gambler who hasn’t embraced rehab lessons about how to seek and accept forgiveness. Instead, he’s like a runaway child “reaching the fenced end of a playground” when he decides to turn back from the Mexican border.
Ironically, Cash’s redemption lies in Mexico, because he is court-ordered to aid medical care in an American-run border clinic. Dr. Maggie Craig, who directs the clinic and wrestles with her own past, expects the worst but discovers a cowboy of sorts who can dance, play piano, appreciate art and show patients tenderness. Readers of Kalan Chapman Lloyd’s previous series, The Misadventures of Miss Lilly, are familiar with Cash as a ne’er-do-well with a heart of gold. But the backstory in LOSER’s ROAD unfolds like a mystery. Although this may attract some first-time readers, it is confusing to untangle the slow, teasing exposition of clues about two key women in Cash’s past. One is his dead wife, Tina, and the other his on-and-off girlfriend Lilly Atkins, a not-so-law-abiding lawyer.
Snippets of text that top each chapter–such as “…make me whole…” –are also baffling. They appear to be tiny subconscious prayers from Cash and Maggie entreating God’s help and forgiveness. Another point of frustration concerns moments when the story stumbles due to typos and easy-to-fix writing errors, such as describing Cash as feeling “like a fish out of water” in the “solid Oklahoma soil from whence he sprung.”
Author Kalan Chapman Lloyd has impressively created an appealingly mature midlife romance, demonstrating the importance of mutual respect and of loving and being loved by community.
~Alicia Rudnicki for IndieReader