Patty Callahan is in her early 20s, a striking blond who recently graduated from UConn with a double major in finance and psychology. She works as a teller in a local bank and as a part-time lifeguard at the YMCA. She is the sort of girl who is willing to expose herself to peeping Toms (a $10 floats down from the ceiling above where she is changing, a bill she returns to Building Supervisor without comment) and to use her body to promote an embezzlement scheme.
Author Jim Ramsey grew up in Greenwich and is a former reporter. He knows the newspaper business and he knows the Greenwich of the 1970—the ball fields, the bars, the shops along the Post Road, which runs through the town, the local politics—and he recalls the music and concerns of the period.
In the course of Post Road Promises Steven begins dating a young widow—her husband was killed in Vietnam—stumbles across information that tickles his reporter’s instincts, and, in an exciting development, spectacularly avoids a beating for a news story that had thoroughly offended one of the local characters.
Post Road Promises, as a debut novel, is a picture of a time and a place—a real time in a real place. I believed almost without exception that these people would have acted in this way in Greenwich, now one of the wealthiest towns in America, at the time. I’m not convinced that any young woman would have been as blasé as Patty when she realized she was inadvertently displaying herself in the YMCA locker room. Perhaps with a little more background and motivation, Ramsey could have made her motivation(s) more convincing. That, however, is only a minor quibble in a book that offers other pleasures.