Road Trip to Boston with Detours: Boundless by Brad Cotton @BradCott0n

Cover image of book Boundless by Brad CottonEven though it’s not readily available from the library, I couldn’t resist buying a Kindle edition of Boundless, Brad Cotton‘s second novel, because his characters take a road trip across the country to Boston and because the author had a nice way of asking me to review his first book, A Work in Progress. Boundless takes three young people (between the ages of 23 and 30) and shows them changing their lives, starting with hitting the road for parts unknown. (Well, OK, so they know they’re heading to Boston, but a lot happens on the way there, they take several detours, and none of them has ever lived out East before.)

In the spirit of adventure that thoughts of a road trip inspire in me, I read this book entirely on my phone – the first e-book I haven’t read on my dedicated e-book reader (a Nook). (Boundless is also available in a Prinia Press paperback. It’s also available as a Nook Book, although it wasn’t back in August when I bought my copy.) The lack of a physical presence contributed to the length of time it took me to read it. It was what I read on my phone when I didn’t have a book, magazine, or my Nook with me. So until I either get a tablet with the Kindle app or get in the habit of reading books on my phone, I may not read too many e-books that can’t go on my aged, rapidly becoming obsolete Nook.

Boundless starts with two guys, Ray and Duncan, aged 28 and 30, cashing out their sports bookie business in Phoenix that developed from their college days into a successful, if illegal, business. Tired of watching chronic gamblers – their loyal clientele – going deeper into debt, they’ve finished with the business (almost) and are hitting the open road to see where life takes them. When they’re offered the chance to do one more job (collecting on a $12K debt) in Boston, they decide that Boston’s as good a destination as any. It’s not long before lithe, 23-year-old, blond Amanda/Ruby enters the picture but, heading East to start her own new life, she travels chastely along as a friend. At least, at first, but eventually an understated romance starts to develop.

I enjoyed reading about the travels of Ray (the philosopher, good with women), Duncan (practical, with a head for business), and Ruby (who seemed a little too trusting and accommodating to be true, at first). I like the author’s sense of humor and also that he takes his characters seriously. Coming into their thirties, Ray and Duncan are making momentous decisions after pretty much drifting through life so far. On the road, they converse about topics such as God, the afterlife, and the meaning of life, as well as more mundane topics such as where to stop for the night and what they should spend some of the cash they’re carrying around on.

Boundless is a stronger book than the author’s first novel, A Work in Progress, and it’s clear Canadian author Brad Cotton works hard at his craft. I will watch for his third novel to come out, and I won’t read it on my phone this time!

Cotton, Brad
Amazon Digital Services
August 18, 2013
459 pp.

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