cover image Willnot


James Sallis. Bloomsbury, $26 (208p) ISBN 978-1-63286-452-9

The discovery of a mass grave in the woods outside present-day Willnot, a small Southern town, opens this sly, nuanced tale from Sallis (Others of My Kind). Lamar Hale, Willnot’s indefatigable general practitioner and surgeon, investigates. Meanwhile, Bobby Lowndes, a troubled young combat vet whom Hale treated years before, suddenly appears back in his hometown. Lowndes’s intentions are unclear, and his ghostly presence is unsettling, especially when the FBI arrives in Willnot on his trail. Things get really eerie when Lowndes is shot by an unknown sniper, and he promptly walks out of the hospital and disappears. A series of violent incidents culminates with the shooting of Hale’s partner, Richard. Hale’s instinctive resistance to pat generalizations and reductive diagnoses makes him an effective and compassionate healer—and a good amateur sleuth. Sallis is without peer when it comes to interweaving seemingly disparate narrative threads, and his work consistently challenges readers to question their assumptions about themselves and other people. [em]Agent: Vicky Bijur, Vicky Bijur Literary Agency. (June) [/em]