When Ziggy Czarnecki was big in Detroit, the Motor City was hot, and so was he, the numbers man in the neighborhood with even more juice than the monsignor. In the '50s he gave out tickets to Tigers games by the dozen, and even the mayor came to the famous parties at his place on Harsen's Island. But that was then and Ziggy, having long ago lost the numbers and wrecked a good part of his life in the process, is now sixty-five, and he's gotten used to keeping his head down as he makes his way through the desolate city that's his home. Which is why his reaction surprises him when he hears that Przybylski the undertaker who now lives in California may be the one who figngered him all those years ago and brought down the raids that led to his downfall: Ziggy feels a jolt from somewhere that convinces him he's got to go out there and find out if it's true.
Crossing the country by Greyhound, Ziggy encounters storm, flood and fire. The endless prairie with its lost towns, the dusty Oklahoma settlement where nasty cowboys lurk, the menacingly stark desert - all of this excites his wonder and unlocks his memories. Ziggy's chance companion, Lenny Kurzweil, a would-be stand-up comic, accompanies him all the way to the coast where, with the help of an ex-priest and his girlfriend, Ziggy hunts for clues to the whereabouts of Przybylski.
Will he find the undertaker and, if he does, what can they possibly have to say to each other? Will Ziggy return to Detroit where his wife Maggie waits for him? In his sixth novel, K.C. Frederick takes us on a trip through the heart of America as well as the history of a time, a place, and an unforgettable character.
"Frederick's woebegone outsiders are reminiscent of Elmore Leonard tough-tender guys and dolls, not a bad literary role model." --Kirkus Review
"Ziggy’s quest is related without sentiment...it resonates as a rumination on the trials and triumphs of a newly examined life."
K.C. FREDERICK lives in the Boston area with his wife. Born in Detroit, he's taught at Michigan, Cornell, and the University of Massachusettes at Boston. His novel, Inland, won the L.L. Winship PEN New England Prize for Fiction in 2007.