Fiction

The State of Kansas

The State of Kansas
Julianna Spallholz

GenPop Books, 2012
ISBN: 9780982359440
Short Fictions | 6″x8″, 100 pp | Trade paperback

$14 includes shipping in the US ($16 in stores). Single orders: online via PayPal (no account necessary). Bookstores: see ordering info here.

In simple, rhythmic, nail-sharp prose, the cast of unnamed characters in The State of Kansas survive a flood, brush their teeth, drink, attend a sinister dinner party, try to love others, think a lot about death (animal and human), and weigh the confusion of trying to and a place—decent or otherwise—in a big, beautiful, and often unforgiving America.

The State of Kansas is such an amazing book that I was already recommending it to people before I finished reading it. Spallholz utterly nails the way we find and create menace in apparently innocuous or homey things like bricks or piles of dishes or who really owns the cat. Her pithy pointed tales show that we’re all, despite our efforts to play nice, domestic terrorists. This book is awesome.

—Rebecca Brown, author of American Romances, The Gifts of the Body, The Last Time I Saw You, and others

[Read more…]

Bad Dog

philpin bad dog cover

Bad Dog
John Philpin

GenPop Books, 2012
ISBN: 9780982359457
Crime Novel | 6″x8″, 220 pp., trade paperback

$14 includes shipping in the US ($16 in stores). Single orders: online via PayPal (no account necessary). Bookstores: see ordering info here.

Also available for Kindle, just $4.99 at Amazon

The time is 1968. The time is the present. Bad Dog is the fictional memoir of a first-generation American, a writer disillusioned with the last half century of his country’s history. He is a kid who graduated first from Boston’s Roxbury streets then from Harvard, a man in his sixties watching Vietnam replayed in Iraq, a draft dodger from a family of veterans, a young man whose promise to a child to find her missing friend is more important than his flight to Canada to avoid trial for draft evasion.

With a double homicide and kidnapping at the center of Bad Dog, John Philpin’s latest novel certainly qualifies for the crime genre, but this “fiction” from one of America’s first independent criminal profilers also asks: What are the biggest crimes, and who perpetrates them? Philpin’s most autobiographical work to date, Bad Dog takes the reader from a backwoods Vermont homicide into a tale about war and the lies that have led us into wars, a tale of living through two bouts of national madness.

Bad Dog is a fictional memoir about crime and life by an author who understands both well. At the center of the tale is a double murder and the abduction of a child, but the biggest crimes of all are the lies perpetrated by a government bound and determined to wage war. Head down the rabbit holes of Vietnam and Iraq with a trippy, disillusioned guide who refuses to dance to the drumbeats of death.  You’ll feel compelled to read non-stop but forced to pause to contemplate the truths on each page. An unforgettable read.

—Diane Fanning, author of ten works of true-crime and five mystery novels including Twisted Reason, the most recent in the Lucinda Pierce series

[Read more…]

Peter Money, Che

peter-money-che-300h

Che
Peter Money

BlazeVOX [books], 2010
ISBN 9781935402862
Novel, 5″x8″, 210 pages, paperback

$14 includes shipping in the US ($15 in stores). Single orders: online via PayPal (no account necessary). Bookstores: see ordering info here.

Extraordinary… an ocean of beautiful and harrowing language that casts up its characters like great drift logs seen through heavy surf. The novella… speaks to and out of his refusal of artificial separations between the possibilities of art and the strictures of history … Peter reveals a commitment to the beauty and precision of language–lyrical flights end-stopped by a sentence like a punch to the gut: ‘People died trying.’ This is writing that requires readers to think and feel in equal measures…

—Jan Clausen

[Read more…]

Nancy Stohlman, Searching for Suzi

stohlman-suzi-fc-300h

Searching for Suzi
Nancy Stohlman

Monkey Puzzle Press, 2009
ISBN 0980165067
Fiction, 5″ x 7.75″, 96 pp., paperback

$12 includes shipping in the US ($15 in stores). Single orders: online via PayPal (no account necessary). Bookstores: see ordering info here. here.

What happens when an ex-stripper in her mid-thirties, married with children, awakens one day questioning what brought her to a current life of complicated domesticity? Compelled to return to Omaha after seventeen years, the narrator we only know as Natalie begins a quest into her past, an adventure that takes the reader from childhood beauty pageants to the sex and glamour industries. Natalie’s search becomes an intrepid journey through her own sexuality, a woman not only claiming herself but also accepting her contradictions. With inquisitive perception and agile use of perspective, Searching for Suzi is an investigation into the tragic shadows of a past preferred to be forgotten.

The exploitation has to be turned around on itself at some point. Searching for Suzi tells the story of Natalie, an ex-stripper who reflects on her life as she returns to Omaha, Nebraska where she grew up. Discussing the obsession with appearance and the concept of sexy that ranges from the glamour and stripping industry down to childhood beauty pageants, Searching for Suzi is a fascinating and very highly recommended read.

Midwest Book Review

[Read more…]