This is a book offered up for free by the new Audible Plus service, and that’s probably mostly why I listened to it. I’ve read Dorothy Hughes’s much more famous novel In a Lonely Place, which is a pretty bleak and dreary novel too (and this is as well), but it also holds up a little better than this one. We meet Sailor, a kind of cast away character who shows up in a town hosting a Spanish festival. He, of course, makes the mistakes of thinking it must be a Mexican festival, which he finds off for a US town, but he’s told in no uncertain terms, that it’s Spanish (which he takes in stride). We don’t know why he’s in the town, but we know it’s not for the festival. But that will act as a framing device and gives much of the plot. He becomes entwined (not sexually) with a 14 year old girl who acts as a kind of guide through the town and offers him a place to stay (with her family) since all the hotels are booked. We slowly come to realize that Sailor has a history and a connection with a retired US senator who he’s there to confront and blackmail, and there’s our plot.
Not a book that I felt particularly strongly about one way or another, but it’s one that for whatever reason this one soured on me before long. It’s not a long novel, but it’s so casually misogynistic and racist (or characters are) and well it strained on me. Oh, the title refers to a carousel, by the way.