From the best-selling author of The Saturday Night Ghost Club comes this collection of seven brilliantly cinematic short stories.
Set in the Niagara Falls of Craig Davidson’s imagination—known as "Cataract City"—the superb stories of Cascade shine a shimmering light on this slightly seedy, slightly magical, slightly haunted place. The six gems in this collection each illuminate familial relationships in a singular way: A mother and her infant son fight to survive a car crash in a remote wintry landscape outside of town. Fraternal twins at a juvenile detention center reach a dangerous crisis point in their entwined lives. A pregnant social worker grapples with the prospect of parenthood as a custody case takes a dire turn. A hardboiled ex-firefighter goes after a serial arsonist with a flair for the theatrical even as his own troubled sister is drawn toward the flames. These are just some of the unforgettable characters animating this stellar collection that crackles with Davidson’s superb craft and kinetic energy: in the steel-tipped prose, in the psychological perspicacity, and in the endearing humor.
The six tales in Davidson's wonderful and gritty collection return to the bucolic backdrop of Cataract City, a stand-in for Niagara Falls (and the title of Davidson's earlier novel). Energized by a familial bond and propelled by tragedy, the opener, "The Ghost Lights," depicts the frenzied rush of a car crash's survivors. That bloodline bond hinges and anchors other stories where family runs deep regardless of occupation or circumstance, as in "The Vanishing Twin," in which two teenage twin brothers trade stories of their "devilry" from inside the walls of a juvenile correctional facility and realize just how different they are from each other. The struggles of a burned-out social worker in the emotionally resonant "Friday Night Goon Squad" are palpable as she attempts to assuage her clients' family issues while desperately trying to start a family of her own. A circus performer and a firefighter in "Medium Tough" and "Firebug" have their respective crosses to bear, and Davidson portrays each vividly. Throughout, the author displays deep empathy and conveys emotional resonance. The result is a blissful, wholly satisfying assemblage of cinematic stories, sure to please Davidson's fans and attract newcomers.