“Florida Hustle” by Paul Wilborn

All the street’s a stage—one that’s eerily deserted in Paul Wilborn’s comic-noir Florida Hustle.

This trickle-down era tempest is weathered by a jaded, albeit generous, Prospero, Cavanaugh Riley—whose past promises finally come due, especially for his long-forsaken daughter. Her dedicated and eventful search finds her in the wilds of West Palm, Florida, en route to her father’s glorious destination Savannah, Georgia, his own El Dorado —“‘a town with history’” as he proclaims, but most importantly, one without any of his own.

With their blurry Kodachrome dreams for scarce comfort, his wary band of travelers, escapees and addicts reconciles saviors with killers, demons with angels, and horror with delight—in a kitsch wonderland where classic cars, b-movie relics, and swamp fauna define culture and couture.  Lost youth re-discovers love and loyalty amidst sub-urban neglect and jungle chases, in a just-say-yes alternate underworld. A read recommended for those seeking a life-affirming carnivalesque detour with Wilborn’s un-easy riders.

Paul Wilborn

A native of Tampa, Paul Wilborn collected multiple awards from the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors during a journalism career that included stints at the Tampa Tribune, The St. Petersburg Times and the Associated Press in Los Angeles. He won the Green Eyeshade Award from the Atlanta Chapter of Sigma Delta Chi, the South’s top writing prize. Based on a selection of his writing, Wilborn was chosen for the Paul Hansel Award, Florida’s top journalism prize. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan. Cigar City: Tales From a 1980s Creative Ghetto is Wilborn’s debut short story collection. The book won the Gold Medal for Fiction in the 2019 Florida Book Awards. He has also written Trickle Down, a novel set in South Florida.

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