These 11 short stories are set in Bruce Springsteen country, thematically as well as physically. The Jersey Shore is always present in the consciousnesses of the characters and the reader. Working people inhabit the tales: the painter who forces his son to learn the preamble to the Constitution, a security guard who�s single-handedly raising his socially withdrawn son, and, most wonderful of all, the bowling-alley janitor who takes in an abandoned baby and develops special skills. Filled with both humor and awful events, the stories show a deft hand in character setup and in description of the landscape of the East Coast. Some stories are interlinked. Two have characters with versions of the same last name; two take place in a house of horrors. Ghosts abide here, as do infants who talk and the cremated remains of an old man residing in an old box. New Jersey libraries will want this collection, as will those with an audience for regional fiction. --Ellen Loughran
"One of the sharpest, funniest, and most compassionate debuts you will ever have the good fortune to read. Without a doubt, Michael Kardos is a truly gifted writer and a vibrant new voice in American letters."
-- Donald Ray Pollock, PEN Bingham Award-winning author of The Devil All the Time andKnockemstiff"Michael Kardos's soulful stories take place in that hard-luck corner of New Jersey where rock and roll dreams crash into blue-collar reality. One Last Good Time is a remarkable debut collection, full of stories that are funny and melancholy at the same time."
-- Tom Perrotta, best-selling author of The Leftovers"Not only funny, but laugh-out-loud funny; not only poignant, but heart-wrenching. I've never read anything quite like it--and I will read it again and again and again."
-- Christopher Coake, PEN Bingham Award-winning author of You Came Back and We're in Trouble"Kardos's stories go to a place very few writers ever manage to get to: a place of true goodness. There's not a single story here that doesn't peer into its characters' lives, and into their hearts, and remind us that life is good."
-- Michelle Herman, author of Dog and The Middle of Everything