"A novelist of daring creativity and passion."—Edmund White
A dying drug kingpin enslaved to the memory of his dead wife; a young woman torn between a promising future and the hardscrabble world she grew up in; a mother willing to do anything to fuel her addiction to pills; and her youngest son, searching for the truth behind his older brother's disappearance, are just some of the unforgettable characters that populate Ghosting, Kirby Gann's lush and lyrical novel of family and community, and the ties that can both bond and betray.
Fleece Skaggs has disappeared, along with drug dealer Lawrence Gruel's reefer harvest. Deciding that the best way to discover what happened to his older brother is to take his place as a drug runner for Gruel, James Cole plunges into a dark underworld of drugs, violence, and long hidden family secrets, where discovering what happened to his brother could cost him his life.
A genre-subverting literary mystery told from the alternating viewpoint of different characters, Ghosting is both a simple quest for the truth—what exactly happened to Fleece Skaggs?—and a complex consideration of human frailty.
Kirby Gann is the author of the novels The Barbarian Parade and Our Napoleon in Rags (Ig Publishing, 2005). His short fiction has appeared in Witness and The Best of Witness, The Crescent Review, American Writing, The Louisville Review, Southeast Review, and The Southern Indiana Review, among other journals. Gann is managing editor at Sarabande Books and teaches in the brief-residency MFA in writing program at Spalding University.
Gann's newest novel (after Our Napoleon in Rags) is a tightly written Appalachian gothic told from multiple perspectives. The story concerns Cole and his brother, Fleece, who along with an enormous amount of marijuana belonging to a dying elderly drug dealer known as Mister Greuel has gone missing. After discovering Fleece's torched car but no Fleece Cole descends into Kentucky's criminal underworld in an attempt to locate his brother. Along the way, he is alternately helped and hindered by Shady Beck, Fleece's gray-eyed, weed-loving, former girlfriend, and Blue Note, Greuel's violent, blue-skinned partner in crime. The book is concerned not only with a missing man but also with how these outcasts eke out a living amid economic ruin, wherein conservative churches still conjure the gall to peddle a gospel of prosperity. Despite occasionally cartoonish monikers (e.g., Boonie Ed or Spunk), the characters are fully realized rooted in the land and veined with bad blood and their motivations are complex and believable. Violent, bloody, and darkly beautiful, this is a fascinating novel depicting the seedy bottom of an America in decline.