"This is before the accident. No one is dead yet. Blood circulates just as it should, two ounces per pump of the heart." So begins the extraordinary story of Carter Clay, a Vietnam veteran at loose ends. Drunk and driving a van down a Florida highway, Clay smashes into the Alitz family: Joe and Katherine, distinguished paleontologists, ad their daughter, Jersey. Joe is killed, Katherine and Jersey are seriously injured. In an attempt to redeem himself while still concealing his culpability, Clay becomes a questionable caretaker of Katherine and Jersey's damaged lives. He obtains a job as an aide at the hospital where Katherine and Jersey initially receive care. When Katherine's retired mother assumes reluctant responsibility for the pair, Clay further insinuates himself into their lives--imposing upon precocious Jersey and addled Katherine the baggage of his past and his haphazard faith in God. Suspenseful, psychologically complex, and inhabited by characters that will haunt your memory long after you have turned the last page, Carter Clay is a magnificent novel--a finely wrought tale of the frailty of identity and the possibility of redemption.