cover image Distortion


Lee Thomas. Lethe, $20 trade paper (280p) ISBN 978-1-59021-357-5

Horror writer Thomas (The German) delivers hard-hitting truths with a healthy dose of suspense in this enjoyable standalone. Mick Harris, former bassist for the metal band Palace, is trying to adjust to a normal life. As Mick reflects on his glory days, he receives a phone call from a man close to his estranged daughter, Isley, informing him that her mother, Noelle, has died. Isley lives in the tiny town of Celebration, Ark., and longs for an escape route, but, when Mick reaches out to rebuild a relationship with her, Isley and the town’s residents give him a less than warm welcome. Soon he finds hints of something ominous hidden under the town’s mundane appearance. Thomas captures the breadth of human emotion and interaction in Mick’s unlikely friendship with an older gay couple, his tempestuous relationship with his daughter, and his budding romance with a cute window repairman. Although the setup (an outsider encountering something strange in a backwoods town) is fairly standard horror fare, there are enough intense and surprising moments to keep even the pickiest of readers entertained. (May)