cover image Peril in the Old Country

Peril in the Old Country

Sam Hooker. Black Spot, $13.99 trade paper (312p) ISBN 978-0-9997423-0-3

Hooker (The Winter Riddle) demonstrates a delightfully firm grasp on absurdist fantasy in his second novel. Sloot Peril is an accountant with aspirations to mediocrity and not a whit of courage. His life in the totalitarian Salzstadt is equally divided among passing the time in his tiny apartment; joining rituals praising the Domnitor, Salzstadt’s revered leader; and caring for the money of the wealthy. Against his will, he’s drawn deep into a web of political intrigue and secret societies; even worse, his beloved mother is up to her ears in a scheme involving the Carpathians, Salzstadt’s greatest enemies. What follows is a gleeful caper rife with literary influences—from Victorian-era English novels to tales of Transylvania—with a plethora of potshots taken at propaganda, the proletariat, and personal peccadilloes. Though the story is repetitive in places and unashamedly full of outlandish situations, Hooker nevertheless spins an amusing tale that will appeal to fans of bitter comedy. (June)