I haven't read Pete Dexter before, but I was very impressed with his latest book, Spooner. With a new author it can take a little while to get into their rhythm, but once I got there, I found myself really enjoying the flow of Dexter's writing. I especially enjoyed the extensive use of creative and humorous figurative language. I have a feeling the style of writing in this book is indicative of Dexter's work in general, so I look forward to reading more from him.
Reading Dexter's acknowledgements, it's clear this book is liberally based on his own life. When I finished I felt like this book was written as a sort of tribute to someone who'd recently died, someone the author loved deeply, but imperfectly. Throughout the story, Spooner tries to figure out his stepfather, Calmer Ottoson, and in the end, isn't quite able to do it. Spooner's moment of realization ends the story, and it is very powerful. Ultimately, this is a story of men, sons and fathers, and the struggle to connect. Spooner struck me as a bit of a Forrest Gump at times, but his odyssey to understand the most important man in his life is truly universal. This may be the best book about men that I've ever read. I can't recommend it highly enough.