Synopses & Reviews
This title is an epic American redemption tale about love and loss, hope and despair, God and whiskey, barbecue and the blues. LaVerne Williams is a ruined ex-big league ballplayer, an ex-felon with an attitude problem, and the owner of a barbecue joint he has to run. Ferguson Glen is an Episcopal priest, a fading literary star with a drinking problem, and a past he is running from. A.B. Clayton and Sammy Merzeti are two lost souls in need of love, understanding, and another cigarette. Hilarious and heart-rending, sacred and profane, this book marks the emergence of a vital new voice in American fiction.
"As Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It does for Montana fly-fishing, Doug Worgul’s Thin Blue Smoke makes the poetry of Kansas City barbecue accessible to all readers. More than gorgeous prose and fully developed characters, this novel offers us catharsis." —Matthew Quick, author, The Silver Linings Playbook
"In our world of increasing isolation and infidelity, Thin Blue Smoke stirs our imaginations with the hope of what is possible through deep and tenacious friendships." —C. Christopher Smith, editor, The Englewood Review of Books
"Thin Blue Smoke is a wandering through a community bound by their shared histories, their dreams, and the food they love. It reminds me of the best things in life. And Doug Worgul has done what all great writers strive to do: make you crave for more." —Rajiv Joseph, playwright, Gruesome Playground Injuries
"[There is a] sort of Buechnarian tragedy, comedy, and fairy tale that laces this novel . . . It reminded me of a couple of my favorite books: David James Duncan’s The Brother’s K and Anne Tyler’s Saint Maybe. The characters of Thin Blue Smoke are not unlike most of us—sidetracked and puzzled, reaching for something they can’t quite name." —Dale Brown, founding director, Buechner Institute
About the Author
Doug Worgul was born in 1953 into a family of preachers, teachers, and writers in the state of Michigan. Worgul honed his skills as a writer at The Kansas City Star where he worked for ten years as a features editor, senior book editor, and editor of Star Magazine. While at The Star, he authored two books of non-fictionA Table Full of Welcome: A Cookbook Celebrating the Ethnic Diversity of Kansas Citys Culinary Traditions and The Grand Barbecue: A Celebration of the History, Places, People, and Techniques of Kansas City Barbecue.A nationally-recognized authority on the history and cultural significance of American barbecue traditions, Worgul is currently director of marketing at Joes Kansas City Bar-B-Que (formerly Oklahoma Joes), named by Anthony Bourdain as one of theThirteen Places to Eat Before You Die.” Worgul has four daughters (and four grandsons) and lives in Leawood, Kansas, with his wife.