Current Reads

Ghostly Pursuits

In Nick Antosca's second novel, a murdered child seeks his killer.

Book Cover Stories attach themselves to all manner of things, and occasionally those stories rise to some level of perpetuity. I wish I had a dramatic story for how I came to read Nick Antosca's disturbing, riveting, and eerie second novel, Midnight Picnic (Word Riot Press). For all I know, he might have sent it to me, as I had no acquaintance with him, Word Riot Press, or his first novel, Fires. Book jacket information glibly provides the following: "Nick Antosca lives, works, and writes on the East Coast of America. He was born in the state of Louisiana." If you search engine him, you may also find out that he went to Yale, where he was mentored by the inestimable John Crowley. But none of this really matters when you turn to page one and bear-like Bram is turning into the parking lot of Mom's, only to realize he has just run over Baby, a hound, with his old busted-out Pontiac. Searching for the badly injured dog in order to put it out of its misery, Bram discovers a collection of bones that turn out to be those of a murdered child. Adam, that child, is seeking aid in tracking down and punishing his killer, and ineluctably entangles Bram in his pursuit. Bram, Adam, Jacob Bunny, suicides, alcoholics, misanthropes--all characters in this carny-show rumination (for my lack of a better word) on death: a tale as engaging and disorienting as Jim Crace's Being Dead.
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