Jeff Labrecque
February 16, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Art of Losing

Current Status
In Season

We gave it a B-

The Art of Losing, Keith Dixon’s second novel, delves into the cut-throat worlds of horse racing and Hollywood, but what he knows better are desperate New York characters reminiscent of Ratso Rizzo. Failing filmmaker Mike Jacobs falls in with the wrong crowd and risks everything on a fixed race. When disaster strikes at the track, Jacobs is pursued by thick-necked men unlikely to have seen his last documentary. Racing enthusiasts will be irked by Dixon’s limited horse sense, and Jacobs’ Hollywood isn’t so much a place as an idea that ”stank of thwarted escape.” In the end, Dixon never reconciles his character’s deep resentment of wealth with his tragic pursuit of it. B-

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