cover image Picking Up the Ghost

Picking Up the Ghost

Tone Milazzo. ChiZine (Diamond, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (296p) ISBN 978-1-926851-35-8

African magic and folklore color this unusual coming-of-age story. The night after learning of the death of the father he never knew, 14-year-old Cinque Williams is visited in dreams by an eerie wire hand that snatches away his heart. This proves just the first of a cascade of weird experiences for the boy as he sneaks his way to Chicago to pick up his father's effects. Along the way he encounters monsters, ghosts, shape-shifters, and a Sin Catcher, who hopes to burden Cinque with his father's sins. Aided by a shamanic African pastor who visits him in dreams, Cinque overcomes these and other fantastic challenges to accept his heritage and forge a mature identity. Though its events seem chaotic and random in spots, this debut entertains with an original approach and mix of breezy humor and dark fantasy. (Sept.)