The town of Stillwater has a very unwelcome resident.
The town of Stillwater has been dying - the long and painful death of a town ravaged by floods and haunted by the ghosts of all who had lived there. Yet this most recent flood has brought something with it - a creature that nests among the good folks of Stillwater...and feeds off them. The children who haven't disappeared whisper the same word - "vampire". But they're wrong. What has come to Stillwater is something much more horrific.
Malfi (The Floating Staircase) brings a cinematic vividness to this story of a dying small town whose fate manifests as a nightmare of supernatural horror. Stillwater, Md., is in the final throes of its decline as an industrial town when it is plagued by a series of weird incidents: hordes of bats start appearing, several young boys go missing, and townsfolk begin seeing phantoms from their pasts. As police officer Ben Journell investigates, a pattern emerges that suggests something malignant is preying on the public and personal miseries of Stillwater and its citizens. Cross-cutting among the increasingly bizarre experiences of several principal characters, Malfi constructs a panoramic narrative in which the despair of individuals sharpens the sense of horror overwhelming the town. This smartly written novel succeeds as both an allegory of smalltown life and a tale of visceral horror.