The Coffey family trades in a close-knit Milwaukee neighborhood for a rural village in central Wisconsin, lured by a new job and promise of a new life. In this new novel, set in 1938, Carl Sr. has accepted a position as school principal and basketball coach in Chester, and 12-year-old Carl Jr. and his younger brother Perkin must find their place in a new town. They soon make new friends and form the Logging Road Gang to right moral wrongs. When the circus comes to town and a girl disappears, the town becomes divided and Carl Jr. must share all he knows.
“The Logging Road Gang” blends descriptions of small-town life with Mark Twain-style humor and adventures. The family’s new home proves to be a bit of a disappointment for Carl’s mother as she surveys the sagging linoleum and outhouse. Author Buzz Humke ably describes colorful characters like Eddie, a woods-savvy kid who likes to tease and torment Carl Jr.; Shorty, a witty chicken farmer who is more than he appears; and Ice Herman, an iceman who knows town secrets. The Coffeys don’t set out to shake up the town, which seems backward in many ways, but soon band together to bring progress and – even more importantly hope – to Chester.
Author Buzz Humke served as recreation director for the city of Madison, Wis., and wrote a book about the city’s public recreation program. He and his wife, Ellen Ruth, have been married for more than 50 years