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Southbound [Kindle Edition]

Jason Beem
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"There’s a line that runs alongside our ordinary lives, just beyond the grind of things. Jason Beem’s novel Southbound derails your ordinary life and shoots you into the thrill, rush, and dark brutal truths of gambling and racing. And he doesn’t flinch. A glorious and visceral book. I sweat reading it.”–Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Chronology of Water and Dora: A Headcase.

Based on author Jason Beem’s own painful journey with a gambling addiction, Southbound follows Ryan McGuire, a horse racing announcer who faces his gambling demons on a daily basis. Just one bet could cost him everything…his job, his friends, his fans, his girlfriend, and even his own life. Despite knowing that all he loves is on the line, he succumbs to his vices and his life quickly spirals out of control. He’s on a straight path southbound to rock bottom and only he has the power to stop it.

“A gritty fearless portrayal of a man in the midst of a gambling breakdown. A relapse to end all relapses. It’s as horrifying as it is intense and written with a lean sharp eye.”--Willy Vlautin, author of The Free and The Motel Life

“Jason Beem’s Southbound begins with the drama of a close horse race — and it never lets up from there. Beem has written a smart, perceptive novel — one that is about the difficulties of addiction and recovery — but also about the yearning for love, and the ways people fill the vacancies in their lives. It’s saturated with the sensory joys of the race track, and a pleasure to read.” –Pauls Toutonghi, Pushcart Prize winning author of Evel Knievel Days and Red Weather


Product Details

  • File Size: 428 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 099121319X
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Pandamoon Publishing; 1 edition (March 24, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00J876I52
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Beem drew upon his experience as a handicapper and bettor. “Basically all of the flashback stories, those are all true. They are all from my point of view, but the actual journey and the main story are just how I pictured it would play out if I would ever go back to doing that again.”
Southbound strikes an excellent balance with a mix of basic information for readers who don’t know much about racing and realistic images for racetrack stalwarts. “Anything that isn’t common knowledge had to be explained a little bit,” explained Beem.
Beem gives his readers, who might be regulars at the racetrack, a feeling of familiarity. Throughout the book I found myself thinking: I've been there, I've done that, I've seen that happen, I've met that person.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Emotional Peek into the Life of a Compulsive Gambler March 25, 2014
Format:Paperback
Southbound is a maddening journey through gambling addiction, at turns exhilarating and deeply sad. I learned so much about horse racing and its complex betting structure. It's a truly amazing system, one that almost begs the compulsive gambler to try and outsmart it. That's exactly what the main character Ryan McGuire spends his considerable bank account trying to do. The ending is like watching a horse run full out toward a cliff. Will he turn and save himself or hit bottom?

Pick up this excellent debut novel and find out for yourself.

One other thing: take some time to read the acknowledgments. They are the most beautiful I have ever read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Jason Beem’s Southbound is an eye-opening exploration of the darkness of human excess and addiction pertaining not only to gambling but other types of compulsive behavior. Ryan McGuire, has a disease manifest in all types of gambling but his primary focus is on horseracing. It’s what he knows best; he is a racetrack announcer and has been exposed to the temptation to gamble for all his life.

Ryan has a few other problems that are attached to his compulsive personality as well. Some of it he may have inherited from his father who was an alcoholic and also liked to bet on the ponies. So, Ryan knows about his weaknesses but tells himself he has everything under control. Yet he is always aware that in a moment of weakness he could lose control. He fears it is inevitable, that it’s only a matter of time before he breaks down and relapses. And his compulsive need for human attention compels him to seek one-night stands over longer-term relationships. Even when he has longer relationships he seeks attention on the side that threatens any relationship he has.

Compulsive gambling is the biggest threat he has to finding companionship, though. In the past, he has spent time away from others, studying racing forms and picking horses. Attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings Ryan has been able to step away from the pain and destructive behavior. He manages to save money and begin a relationship with a young professional. Even though he hasn’t placed a bet for more than two years, he lives with the knowledge that it only takes the one time of caving in to the weakness for his addiction to return. It only takes a single trigger.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A main character you won't forget... April 2, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'll be the first admit that I don't like novels written in first person unless the voice is unique, believable and true. Jason Beem's "Southbound" nailed the desperate voice of an addict and I was greatly impressed by how believable I found the main character Ryan to be. I think it takes guts to write a central character as completely real with awkward, uncomfortable flaws laid out bare for the reader. At times I was rooting for Ryan and at times I thought he was pathetic (the character, not the writing!) and this roller coaster of attitude towards the main character is what really sold me on the novel. I felt like Ryan was in the same room with me, relating this story. I felt that I could truly see him and hear him and that, to me, is the hallmark of good character development.

Aside from the voice of the main character, I was also impressed by Beem's ability to make someone like me (who knows absolutely nothing about horse racing and very little about gambling) feel like they were experience the rush of the highs and lows of watching and betting on the races. I will admit that at times there were points when I wanted more of Ryan's personal story and less details about the many races in the book, but I also found myself holding my breath near the end of the races and the thrill was appreciated.

Southbound is certainly not a light-hearted read, but if you appreciate raw, realistic characters and true-to-life story lines, then it is definitely for you!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fighting the addiction April 1, 2014
Format:Paperback
Those of us that wrestle with inner demons on a regular basis, know a simple truth. When you find that method or tool that helps you fight those demons, you unleash your capabilities to put out your most amazing material. Jason Beem's new novel, Southbound is flat, scary good. It is a testament to the demons he fights on a daily basis.

Ryan, the main character, is believable in every aspect. His love of horses and racing is only overshadowed by what those loves wakes in him. His flaws, and there are many, are starkly presented in all their ugliness, but with great understanding gifted to the reader about what he's thinking and how he justifies his actions to himself. This character is presented cleanly and powerfully, with no safety net.

Gambling addiction casts a despairing shadow over Ryan and this is painted for the reader with absolutely no decoration. The darkness is always there, always waiting, and the reader will know that better than Ryan does. You know what's going to happen as its inevitable, but you can't help but root for Ryan on his highway to personal destruction.

Putting your money down on this book is no gamble at all. I make odds at least 100-1 that you'll love it. Jason Beem has demons like we all do, and he's found writing an effective tool to carry on the fight. He's also created a powerful commentary on the dangers of gambling. I look forward to his next novel. I hope that his next main character is as consistent in what he does as Ryan was in this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good insight to a compulsive loser.
Published 25 days ago by Dennis C. Sutherland
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the read
More than just a story about gambling. A book that highlights the journey of a man struggling through a compulsive gambling relapse. Well written and and compelling. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mathew Atkinson
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a bet
Does one really have a chance of winning at the racetrack? After reading South Bound I think not, it seems the system is set up for gamblers to think they can outsmart it and the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Reader's Paradise
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book!
Published 1 month ago by Scott Shapiro
5.0 out of 5 stars I don't read a lot of fiction, but this book was impossible to put...
I mostly read nonfiction. What little fiction I read tends to the hyperrealistic: characters who remind me of people I see in my daily life, situations and settings that remind me... Read more
Published 2 months ago by nicolle n.
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply put, a must-read.
I probably would have picked up Southbound to read, anyway, but as it was, it's written by Jason Beem, one of the funniest guys in horse racing today. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Emily White
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book for Everyone Who is Flawed!
Growing up in racing I've seen a lot of people like the main character Ryan, come and go. Mostly go. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Patrick J. Kerrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, yet honest, story of a gambling addict.
I'm a horseplayer, and have come across many of the types of characters mentioned in this book. Problem gamblers abound at the racetrack, and you tend to find them at the end of... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Charlie Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Southbound is "Over The Top"
This insightfully written novel has an astounding universal theme. The Chase. The chase to win, the chase to love, the chase to lose. Ultimately, the chase never ends. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ryan Armstrong
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved the book, heartbreaking and exciting all in one!
Very much enjoyed this book. The ups were up and the downs were definitely down! For someone who has only been into horse racing for about 5 years I very much liked all the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kelly Wilden
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More About the Author

Jason Beem is the track announcer at Portland Meadows horse racing track in Portland, Oregon. Born on the day Mt. St. Helens erupted, May 18, 1980, Jason grew up in the Seattle suburbs of Renton and Kent. An accomplished baseball player and golfer in school, Jason's other passion was always horse racing. He attended the University of Washington and graduated with a degree in Sociology and English. After graduating Jason has worked as a horse racing announcer at River Downs in Cincinnati and Portland Meadows in Portland, Oregon, where he currently announces. He hosts a weekly radio show about horse racing and is also an avid musician and writer. Southbound is his first novel.

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