Cree Thunderboy wants nothing less than to be the next great blues man. But, playing to tiny audiences in shabby rooms like Shelly's Crab Shack, his career is stalled. Then at the race track he meets Win Hardy, a seemingly charming rogue who spots Cree's knack for picking winning horses. He offers to record his first CD and send him on tour, as long as Cree can keep coming up with the hot tips at the track.
Things are looking good for Cree until he discovers Win's connections to the mob and his violent response to anything that doesn't go his way. And when things inevitably go bad, Cree discovers that in life and in gambling there is never really the next sure thing.
About the author
Richard Wagamese (1955–2017), an Ojibway from the Wabaseemoong First Nation in northwestern Ontario, was recognized as one of Canada's foremost First Nations authors and storytellers. His debut novel, Keeper 'n Me, came out in 1994 and won the Alberta Writers Guild's Best Novel Award. In 1991, he became the first Indigenous writer to win a National Newspaper Award for column writing. He twice won the Native American Press Association Award for his journalism and received the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature for his 2011 memoir One Story, One Song. In 2012, he was honoured with the Aboriginal Achievement Award for Media and Communications, and in 2013 he received the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize. In 2015, he won the Matt Cohen Award, a recognition given out by the Writers' Trust of Canada that honours writers who have dedicated their entire professional lives to the pursuit of writing. In total, he authored fifteen books including Indian Horse (2012), the 2013 People's Choice winner in CBC's Canada Reads competition, and his final book, a collection of Ojibway meditations, Embers (2016), received the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award.
Excerpt: The Next Sure Thing (by (author) Richard Wagamese)
Suddenly I didn't like Hardy much. Beyond the charm and the dazzle was a coldness that worried me. His henchmen were buffoons, but there was a hard ugliness behind their playful natures. Still, the roll of bills felt good in my hand.
"Wagamese, an Ojibway author and storyteller, has crafted a very strong story. Another thing that I really love is that this is part of the Rapid Reads series, a [series] of original, high-interest books that are designed for adult learners to enjoy."
Crowding the Book Truck blog
"As fast-paced as the races described within...[Cree's] voice is constant and endearing...I would recommend [it] especially to boy reluctant readers."
Trafalgar School for Girls Online Magazine
"[An] interesting and fast-paced read. One of the biggest strengths of the novel is Cree and his best friend, Ashton. Cree is honest and well developed....The novel handles the issue of gambling in a mature manner...The Next Sure Thing is part of the 'Rapid Reads' series that is aimed at reluctant adult readers. However, the book will appeal to older teen readers who are looking for something faster paced and shorter in length then some YA fiction."
"A clever puzzle that features a young man seeking to make his way."
"As the native identity of the main character is not emphasized, the story is an uplifting read for anyone who refuses to become a victim. The fast-paced plot and engaging conversational style is well suited for...reluctant readers."
Other titles by Richard Wagamese
Richard Wagamese Selected
What Comes from Spirit
A Perfect Likeness
Stories and Ceremonies for a Planet
A Quality of Light
Penguin Modern Classics Edition
Penguin Modern Classics Edition
One Ojibway's Meditations