The Next Sure Thing by Richard Wagamese (Rapid Reads)The Next Sure Thing is published by Orca Books, a local BC publisher with a lot of unique lines of books. A couple years ago I read First Time by Meg Tilly which was from the Orca Soundings imprint. The Next Sure Thing is part of the Rapid Reads. Rapid Reads are short novels and non-fiction books designed for reluctant or low-literacy adult readers.

Cree Thunderboy has a knack for picking winners. But can he pick the next sure thing?

Cree Thunderboy wants nothing less than to be the next great blues man. But, playing to tiny audiences in shabby rooms like Shelly’s Crab Shack, his career is stalled. Then at the race track he meets Win Hardy, a seemingly charming rogue who spots Cree’s knack for picking winning horses. He offers to record his first CD and send him on tour, as long as Cree can keep coming up with the hot tips at the track.

Things are looking good for Cree until he discovers Win’s connections to the mob and his violent response to anything that doesn’t go his way. And when things inevitably go bad, Cree discovers that in life and in gambling there is never really the next sure thing.

From the publisher, Orca Books

Richard Wagamese is an Ojibway author and well-known storyteller, which shows in The Next Sure Thing. The story is fast paced, well-written and engaging. You’ve got the appropriate amount of foreshadow, plot twists, and a strong narrator. It certainly meets the Rapid Reads objective of being accessible both on a literary level and a narrative level.

I would definitely recommend this for reluctant readers and due to the age of Cree, it would even be a suitable book for teens. However, if you’re looking for something that reflects Richard Wagamese’s skills as a writer, you may be better off selecting something else from his wide repertoire.

Finished novel on October 23, 2011

Full disclosure: I received this book through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program.