cover image Deliver Me

Deliver Me

Elle Nash. Unnamed, $28 (250p) ISBN 978-1-951213-71-8

Nash (Animals Eat Each Other) returns with an unsettling story about a woman living with her ex-con boyfriend, Daddy, who has a strange insect fetish and emotionally neglects her. Dee-Dee spends her days working at a chicken plant in Missouri, where employees slaughter 50,000 chickens per day. At night, she returns home to Daddy and dreams about her baby-to-come: she’s tested positive on a pregnancy test again, after a series of heartbreaking miscarriages. When her childhood friend Sloane moves into the upstairs apartment, Dee-Dee’s relationship with Daddy changes in subtle ways, and she starts to wonder if Sloane—who, as a teenager, was impregnated by their church’s pastor and is now a mother—wants to take over her life. Dee-Dee’s fears, and the lingering church doctrine looming in her thoughts, drive the book to an explosive ending that will stun readers. Nash lays her characters bare, and the hints of body horror and vivid descriptions of Dee-Dee’s despair tease at underlying pathological issues (“You still have the mentality of a child,” Daddy tells her). Readers drawn to gritty character studies should take a look. Agent: Kent Wolf, Neon Literary. (Oct.)