Possum Belly Queen by Robert O'Hanneson
The man who telephoned him implied he wants to do business with amusement ride rep Andy Zartanian, and Andy seriously needs to do some business. When they meet, it is clear within moments that the man doesn’t know Chance’s Aviator from the Log Flume. Annoyed at having his time wasted, Andy turns to go. The man hurries to explain he’s there on behalf of a wealthy Bostonian whose granddaughter was last seen with a carnie on a Virginia midway. His employer, the man says, is offering a handsome compensation package to Andy. All he has to do is track down the young woman and bring her home. Suspicious, but drawn to the financial upside, Andy signs on and starts refreshing his carnie contacts. But as Andy suspected from the get-go, it’s much more complex than simply extracting young Emily from her newfound companions. As he fights his way through the seamy backside of sparkling midways and festive crowds, Andy is reminded why his grandfather always said carnie life was the devil’s sandbox.