It begins with a letter from a prisoner…
As he attempts to rebuild his life in rural Oregon after a tragic accident, Malcolm Mays finds himself corresponding with Dusha Chuchonnyhoof, a mysterious entity who claims to be the owner of Malcolm's house, jailed unjustly for 117 years. The prisoner demands that Malcolm perform a gory, bewildering task for him. As the clock ticks toward Dusha's release, Malcolm must attempt to find out whether he's assisting a murderer or an innocent. The End of the Sentence combines Kalapuya, Welsh, Scottish and Norse mythology, with a dark imagined history of the hidden corners of the American West.
Maria Dahvana Headley and Kat Howard have forged a fairytale of ghosts and guilt, literary horror blended with the visuals of Jean Cocteau, failed executions, shapeshifting goblins, and magical blacksmithery. In Chuchonnyhoof, they've created a new kind of Beast, longing, centuries later, for Beauty.
Malcolm Mayes flees the ruin of his old life to start over in tiny Ione, Ore. after buying a house long-distance for $3,000. The price isn't low just because the house is a fixer-upper. It also comes with a serious obligation: the mysterious Dusha Chuchonnyhoof, who conjures letters in the house (which he claims is his), saying that he has been in prison for 117 years. He also claims that the end of his sentence is approaching and that he and Malcolm are bound together. If Malcolm wants his dead son returned to him, he must perform a gruesome task for Chuchonnyhoof. Headley and Howard manage to throw Malcolm and the reader headfirst into the darkness while making it feel like a gradual, incremental journey into the bizarre worlds of Chuchonnyhoof's letters and Ione itself. Even the pleasant things the friendly librarian Lischen, the house spirits who leave Malcolm food and drinks feel ominous in the coauthors' stark but lyrical prose. Ultimately Malcolm and the reader must decide whether this is dark magic or something stranger altogether.