There’s a lot to like in this first novel by one of Butte College’s more popular instructors. For his former students, there’s ample validation of all Abbott told them about the joys of reading—the excitement of an evolving plot, the insight into multi-dimensional characters, the vivid evocation of place through the manipulation of words. For his fellow English teachers, there’s the shared love of good prose, laid down here by a master craftsman with a sharp eye for telling detail, or the precisely right metaphor. For the general reader, there’s the delight always found in a tale well told. Dickeyville unfolds in a Wisconsin town where Mat Roper, the protagonist, goes to meet and marry his fiancée. He arrives by bus, it’s the dead of winter, and everything he encounters is slightly menacing. Over the next several days, the main character struggles to negotiate the ways of Dickeyville’s denizens. Abbott has a deft touch, juggling a town full of characters, inventing a wide ranging plot, and keeping the reader turning pages. The novel wraps up a little neatly with too much expository dialogue in the last two dozen pages, but it is, nonetheless, an engaging, very well-written story.