These thirteen stories are our own lives, inside out.
A boy's summer romance doesn't end in that good kind of heartbreak, but in blood. A girl on a fishing trip makes a friend in the woods who's exactly what she needs, except then that friend follows her back to the city. A father hears a voice through his baby monitor that shouldn't be possible, but now he can't stop listening. A woman finds out that the shipwreck wasn't the disaster, but who she's shipwrecked with. A big brother learns just what he will, and won't, trade for one night of sleep.
From prison guards making unholy alliances to snake-oil men in the Old West doling out justice, these stories carve down into the body of the mind, into our most base fears and certainties, and there's no anesthetic. Turn the light on if you want, but that just makes for more shadows.
Thirteen horror stories, most originally published between 2005 and 2010, make up Native American writer Jones's second collection (after 2005's Bleed into Me). Several stories feature children coming of age: in "Father, Son, Holy Rabbit," a father and son, stranded and awaiting rescue, sustain themselves by eating a magical rabbit over and over again, while in "So Perfect," 17-year-old girls lose weight by poisoning themselves. A standout western-zombie mashup, "Lonegan's Luck," twists the trickster trope when fate takes down a murderous snake-oil salesman. In "Crawlspace," original to this volume, an infant taps into his father's mind, waking up screaming when his dad reads horror. The story notes collected at the end of the book provide insight into Jones's writing process and will particularly interest aspiring fiction writers. The twisty endings, villainous characters, and truly shocking scenarios make several of these disturbing stories truly unforgettable.