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Robert Jackson Bennett was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Winner of the Shirley Jackson Award, the Sydney J. Bounds Award, and an Edgar Award, he is the author of the novels Mr. Shivers, The Company Man, The Troupe, and American Elsewhere. Find out more about the author at www.robertjacksonbennett.com.
Set during the Great Depression and reading like a collaboration between Stephen King and John Steinbeck, this remarkably assured first novel relates a good man's desperate travels through the ruins of the American heartland on the trail of his child's murderer. As he tracks the eponymous fiend, Marcus Connelly discovers that he's not the only person whose life the killer has ruined. The Dust Bowl refugees pursuing Mr. Shivers gradually realize that he embodies an elemental force of destruction, and they begin sacrificing their own humanity for the sake of vengeance. The everyday horrors of a deserted, drought-blighted countryside are interrupted by frightening dreams and fragments of disturbing superstitions as Bennett's characters try to articulate what's happening and imagine a way back home. Bennett makes dark fantasy feel like gritty realism, achieving a rare laconic eloquence that will captivate horror readers hungry for new voices. (Feb.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
It begins simply. A grieving father chases the killer of his daughter across the Dust Bowl, finding allies and enemies along the way. Soon, though, it seems that the killer is more than human, and as the story gains momentum, it passes through layers of supernatural and psychological horror and enters the realm of myth. The ending is predictable, but the protagonist has no idea, and there's a savage joy in watching him rush headlong to his fate. VERDICT Readers who liked Neil Gaiman's American Gods will find similar themes here, while the setting and bleak inevitability invoke a more readable Cormac McCarthy. Compelling and truly horrifying, this debut novel is highly recommended for all fiction and horror collections.-Karl G. Siewert, Tulsa City-Cty. Lib. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.