Synopses & Reviews
"Young hits the mark in this smart, quirky debut collection, where base humanity--like the macho behavior of a high school gym teacher who is revealed to have only one testicle in 'The World Doesn't Smell Like You'--is juxtaposed against a crushing swell of technology and pop culture. Social media, brain-Internet browsers, and reality television all feature in Young's stories, and institutions like the 24-hour grocery, the 'old hotel on Mason Street,' and Facebook are venues for Young's twisted tales. In 'Mosquito Fog,' two online companions arrive at an awkward moment when widower Russell discovers his online confidante, contrary to her online profile, is not his contemporary but a teenage girl. The couple at the center of 'Snow You Know and Snow You Don't' slowly reveal in a letter to their unborn child the strange way they cope with a domestic tragedy. Meanwhile, in 'No Such Thing as a Wild Horse,' the transformation of a local fun park 'from something rinky-dink into something grand' is held up, albeit wryly, as a beacon of inspiration. This is a slick collection--relevant, wise, and immensely enjoyable. (Dec.) Casey's nuanced portrayal of settler and native lives in early 20th-century Oklahoma lends soul and depth to her atmospheric fifth Alafair Tucker mystery (after 2009's The Sky Took Him). One frosty November evening, Shaw Tucker and his hunting dog uncover skeletal remains in a wooded area. A bullet hole between the empty eye sockets spells murder. At home a few weeks later, Shaw captures an intruder, a 15-year-old boy, who says his name is Crying Blood and explains that he's seeking to avenge the mysterious death of his brother. Shaw locks the boy in a stall in the barn, where he finds Crying Blood the next day with a lance through his heart. With the help of his canny wife, Alafair, Shaw must try to solve the puzzle of two crimes linked by half-forgotten history. Though the pace early on may strike some readers as slow, the huge Tucker clan provides appealing color. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
A tuba player surfs the web from a cyst on his hand. A town of spilled peaches fields its own game show. A mosquito fogger finds an unlikely friend. The stories in Mike Young's debut collection Look! Look! Feathers tap into the surreal and sad, the absurd and ragged dreams scratching at the edge of the American heart. Punks drive auctioned police cars, and necklaces of bluebird bones are sold from a roadside van. In these tales of the Pacific Northwest, Young finds magic burrowed under the moss of ordinary life.