Richard Russo, at the very top of his game, now returns to North Bath, in upstate New York, and the characters he created in .
The irresistible Sully, who in the intervening years has come by some unexpected good fortune, is staring down a VA cardiologist’s estimate that he has only a year or two left, and it’s hard work trying to keep this news from the most important people in his life: Ruth, the married woman he carried on with for years. . the ultra-hapless Rub Squeers, who worries that he and Sully aren’t best friends. . Sully’s son and grandson, for whom he was mostly an absentee figure (and now a regretful one). We also enjoy the company of Doug Raymer, the chief of police who’s obsessing primarily over the identity of the man his wife might’ve been about to run off with, dying in a freak accident. . Bath’s mayor, the former academic Gus Moynihan, whose wife problems are, if anything, even more pressing. . and then there’s Carl Roebuck, whose lifelong run of failing upward might now come to ruin. And finally, there’s Charice Bond — a light at the end of the tunnel that is Chief Raymer’s office — as well as her brother, Jerome, who might well be the train barreling into the station.