"'When you don’t outright vex me, you at least set me to wondering. This isn’t easy.'"

Rocky Stellar has enjoyed a self-made lifestyle as a syndicated cartoonist, but when he’s dropped from the syndicate and essentially forced into retirement at age 60, his believed raison d'être is pulled out from under him. Taking a drive into the Arizona countryside at the urging of his wife, Rocky reunites with an old college professor of his, Dr. Frank O’Shaughnessy, a.k.a. Padre Cisco. Cisco lives a humble life largely off the grid and is delighted to speak with Rocky about his worries. Through parables and personal stories, riddles and jokes, Padre Cisco teaches Rocky to alter his perspective and his way of thinking, opening up a more spiritual connection between him, the world around him, and the people he holds close.

Driven almost entirely through conversation and recollection, the characters of this story have to shine and carry the narrative weight, and McCabe’s eye for every personalized detail allows them to do just that. Of course, the titular character gets somewhat top billing as the engine of progress for Rocky, and his storytelling methods and manners of delivering a point worm their way past Rocky straight to the reader. Indeed, despite being a work of fiction, there are many ties to existing cultural moments and spiritual groups that will leave an impact on readers and have them wanting to walk alongside Rocky on his journey to rediscover purpose. Swinging between powerfully poignant and laugh-out-loud funny, this story is more than part of the “ministry of distraction” that Rocky has spent decades within and will likely leave the reader changed as well.

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