You’d think midlife crises and small-town ennui would be as fertile literary ground as a sun-scorched lawn. But Bakopoulos injects fresh-cut, emerald-green life into these tropes with his tale of an Iowa couple pushing 40. Much of that vitality comes from a rich supporting cast (a young woman with a death wish, a townie sorting his father’s estate) that opens up new possibilities for the couple. In fact, by novel’s end, their machinations read less like a character study and more like an absorbing thriller. A–