Ghosts are like homeless people, we are told by DK "Dead" Kennedy, the hero of World Fantasy Award winner Stewart's latest blend of magical realism and Texas regionalism: most of us look away, but he can't. This ability to see the other side complicates life tremendously (he can't drive because at night ghosts look just like the living, and he's wrecked cars avoiding them), especially when a distant cousin hires him to exorcise the ghost of a girl the cousin murdered. Part of the novel deals with DK's offbeat career as an alternative exorcist, but what Stewart seems really to focus on is how these abilities now threaten his relationships with family, both immediate and extended. DK still loves his ex-wife and is active in the life of his daughter, but comes to realize that he's like a ghost in their lives: "Not all ghosts are dead, but all are hungry." Stewart's compelling account of how DK comes to grips with his ghosts, both actual and metaphorical, is alternately poignant and hilarious, with some genuinely creepy moments and one or two powerful jolts. This compelling story is a genre title with strong potential for crossing over into the mainstream. Agent, Martha Millard. (June 15)
Forecast: A blurb from Neal Stephenson will help alert his fans.
Release date: 04/01/2007