Kirkus ReviewsNothing's what it seems in Billheimer's tale of bank fraud, baseball and bunkum in rural West Virginia. J. Burton Caldwell put sleepy Contrary on the map with two major accomplishments: the National Bank of Contrary, which offered mortgages at such a steep discount that its revenues reached nearly a billion dollars; and his Museum of Fakes and Frauds, featuring hoaxes like a copy of The Last Tycoon signed by F. Scott Fitzgerald. So when federal auditors discover a $750-million shortfall soon after Caldwell's death, auctioning off the museum's holdings seems a fitting way to recoup some of the losses. Owen Allison (Drybone Hollow, 2003, etc.), between jobs, shares an auctioned box of baseball cards with Jeb Stuart Hobbs, a high-schooler temporarily living with Owen and his mother, Ruth. After the winner of the other box dies in a suspicious crash and Owen's home is burgled, he and Victoria Gallagher, the museum's comely curator, take a road trip to Cincinnati to have his box appraised, with a steamy stopover at a local inn. But even riskier than his dalliance with Victoria-and Jeb Stuart's increasing dependence on the painkillers prescribed for his broken arm-is Owen's partnership with Rusty Oliver, a disabled vet with a knack for winning government contracts whose offer to send Owen to investigate accident sites could have fatal consequences. Billheimer's intricate riff on fakery is the real deal.
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