Cow Palace

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CowPalace_lg Anne Britting Oleson

Bink Books
262 pp ● 6×9
$16.95 (pb) ● $9.99 (eb)
ISBN 978-1-949290-41-7 (pb)

Fiction / Literary

Publication date: March 2020

About the Book

Dinah closed her eyes tightly, trying to sort out the voices, the sounds. As though she had to. Grimacing, she stood. She’d have to go downstairs. Not for the first time did she wish Ross was here to run interference.

“Di, are you listening? What the hell’s going on? I need a little sympathy here, okay?” Mirelle’s voice had morphed into a squawk from the receiver. “Are you there?”

Perry burst into the room from the landing, his pale face flushed and blotchy, his fine yellow hair swinging over his eyes. “You’ve got to do something,” he gasped, waving back over his shoulder. “They’re going to kill each other this time.”

“Let them do it and be damned,” Dinah groaned.

Dinah Galloway, owner of the struggling restaurant Galloway’s and the Black Orchid Theater next door, finds herself in the middle of daily chaos. The restaurant’s chef and hostess, Rob and Kelly Carvey, are in a constant state of marital warfare, Dinah’s involvement in her best friend Mirelle’s plan to seek revenge over her husband’s affair morphs into a crime scene, and Dinah becomes a reluctant participant in Mirelle’s plan to “aid Dinah’s recovery” from the death of her husband the year before. Dinah concedes dating Mark Burdette, the local newspaper critic, might get her a much needed restaurant review so she tolerates Mirelle’s push.

The arrival of Gahan Godfrey, old friend and director, adds further frenzied complications as he prepares the theater’s debut with Dinah’s favorite play, Blithe Spirit.

Everything at Galloway’s is going straight to hell and Dinah is forced to defend her business, friendships, and herself to get her life back to something that, at least, resembles normal.


“Love, heartbreak, betrayal, revenge and unrequited love simmer throughout the novel — also secrets. Dinah’s heart is the soul of the story, and in Oleson’s hands, readers are treated to truths that both mark and mar the efforts of people attempting to make loving commitments to one another. The novel reads like some madcap play seen in a summer theatre production. But it lays bare the potential cost of withholding the heart’s yearning to be whole.” Frank O Smith, Maine Sunday Telegram

“It’s the tumbling, mostly funny, sometimes sad story of the chaotic life of restaurant owner Dinah Galloway. Cow Palace does not have the gothic feel of Oleson’s earlier books. But it has some loose parallels in mood and characterization to Portland novelist Agnes Bushell’s “The House on Perry Street.” — Dana Wilde,