LIVING IN PARADISE-AND SWIMMING IN THE RIPTIDES Stories of beauty and danger on the Southern California Coast A much-admired lifeguard has lost his athletic daughter to the sea and is changed forever. A young man trains in Vegas to be a thug for the mob, gives it up and returns to the coast to live a moral life wasted on drugs. A gay party animal at Isla Vista becomes a brilliant businessman until he dies of AIDS. An accident-prone professional salvage diver succumbs to a life of risk and poverty. A teenaged surfer girl has an affair with her enabling mother's druggy boyfriend. A once successful homeless man holds onto his dignity by living in his last possession, his boat. These brief descriptions are a few of the springboards from which Terry Dressler builds haunting stories of love and loss in his debut collection. These stories are honest portraits of men and women who relate to one another and to the ocean that beckons them to danger and adventure. Although the stories in this collection are not afraid of the dark, the book also makes us joyfully aware of the beauty and attraction of the coastal life. The author gives us the glory of the surf at Hollister Ranch, the thrill of boating around the Channel Islands, the vibrant hustle of Santa Barbara's State Street, and the panoramic beauty of the churning ocean. He also reminds us, in every story, that life is made up of close relationships between and among people. Oil and Water: Stories From the Windward Shore is a well-painted, inviting portrait of the California coastal scene.