River Rising
by T.P. Jones (Author)

The Gamble
by T.P. Jones (Author)

by T.P. Jones (Author)
Meet the Characters

William "Skip" Peterson -- CEO, The Jackson Packing Company
Skip Peterson, a member of the third generation in his family to lead this large private firm, has done a credible job keeping it afloat in a ruthless industry. His efforts and the respect he has gained, however, have not summed up in his own mind to a deeply meaningful life. Now though, as the company's prospects appear more bleak than ever and his most trusted adviser tells him the end has come, Skip begins to see, dimly at first, that in the very extremity of the situation he might find the personal fulfillment that has so long eluded him.

Homer Budge -- President of the local of the meatpacker's union
Over the years, as Homer Budge negotiated contracts with the Jackson Packing Company, the firm's position in the industry continued to deteriorate. Homer has been "just the man to organize an orderly retreat," a modest, caring man who has negotiated the best contracts possible under the circumstances. But the union has given up much and gotten almost nothing in return. Now it appears even more will be demanded of the rank and file if the company is to survive. What concessions is Skip Peterson finally prepared to make? Or more to the point, what concessions will Homer insist on after a lifetime of accepting other people's realities?

Rachel Brandeis -- Reporter, The Jackson Tribune
Arriving in Jackson from the East Coast to assume her first full-time reporting job, Rachel anticipates being given general assignments, but the publisher offers her a chance to investigate ongoing events at The Jackson Packing Company, a private firm that shuns publicity. Prying the lid off such a place will be very difficult, but with trepidation and a sense of unseen dangers, Rachel accepts the challenge. Thus she begins a task where she will be shunned and scorned but most of all exploited as people attempt to use her and the newspaper for their own purposes.

Jack Kelley -- Construction Manager, Jackson Greyhound Park
Along with the attempt to save jobs at the old-line Jackson Packing Company, the city is beginning construction of a dog-racing track on an island in the Mississippi, a new economic opportunity, which will bring jobs to Jackson. To have the track open before other tracks being constructed under a recent state pari-mutuel law, the city will have to build over the winter, an Iowa winter, and the task has fallen to Jack Kelley. A devout Catholic, although struggling at the moment with the threadbare quality of his religious practice, Jack has little enthusiasm for building a gambling facility. But as a loyal son of the community, he will do it, no matter how difficult the project becomes. And difficult it will become, more difficult than anyone can imagine.

Chuck Fellows -- Jackson City Engineer
One of Jack Kelley's unforeseen troubles will turn out to be Chuck Fellows, who also has no use for gambling venues but, not being a loyal son of Jackson, has no trouble expressing his distain, either for the project or for Jack himself. Chuck has been the City Engineer for a number of years and has, in his own mind, exhumed what there was of interest from the job. He's ready to move on, something new, something with an edge to it, perhaps in the far north pitting himself against the rigors of the harsh Canadian environment. Trouble is, his wife Diane has other ideas, and as they spar over the future, the marriage itself remains in the balance.

Eleanor “El” Plowman – Mayor, Museum Board Chairwoman
When a museum exhibit honoring an African-American citizen of Jackson is vandalized, El Plowman finds herself at odds with the museum director, who wants to mount a new exhibit on the history of racism in the city, and also with the local black leaders, whose response to the vandalism is much cooler than she would have expected, and with the museum board, which insists the old exhibit be repaired. Lacking the support of others and suffering through one of her recurrent bouts of depression and hardly a radical by temperament, El nevertheless decides that, want to or not, she simply has to find a way to challenge the deep-seated racism in her community.

Deuce Goetzinger – Operator, City Water Plant
Deuce Goetzinger, like El Plowman, is no revolutionary. In fact, he is known locally as a high-stakes poker player and womanizer, the last person in the city who would lead a charge for civic betterment. But as with El, fate intervenes and through tragedy and happenstance, Deuce finds himself in the vanguard of an effort to redesign the power structure in the local government. Unlike El, however, he refuses to take what he’s doing seriously. It’s something to do, he tells himself, until something more interesting comes along. But once embarked on his new course, there’s no telling where it might lead him.