The World Beneath

Aaron Gwyn, Author . Norton $23.95 (213p) ISBN 978-0-393-06723-1

Two mysterious occurrences anchor Gwyn's uneven first novel (after a collection, Dog on the Cross ): an outcast half Chickasaw/half Mexican boy named J.T. goes missing in smalltown Oklahoma and a strange hole appears in the yard of Hickson Crider, a veteran of the first Gulf War. The thread that pulls the two story lines together is Sheriff Martin, whose investigation into J.T.'s disappearance is slow out of the gate. As for the seemingly bottomless hole in Hickson's yard, it could be an abandoned well, a sink hole, a tunnel to an underground city built by Chinese immigrants or the doing of a Plains Indian incarnation of Satan. Secondary characters—like the sheriff's wife, who spends her pregnancy building model airplanes, or Hickson's neighbor—are compelling though never fully realized, and the supernatural elements don't get much traction. Gwyn is a talented writer working with a compelling premise, but in this novel, the pieces don't fit together. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/02/2009
Release date: 04/01/2009
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-393-35033-3
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-0-393-07155-9
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