cover image Raising Stony Mayhall

Raising Stony Mayhall

Daryl Gregory. Del Rey, $14 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-0-345-52237-5

Richly textured settings and nuanced characters mark this introspective novel, in which Gregory (The Devil's Alphabet) further expounds on his fascination with an altered human condition set against a mundane backdrop. In 1968 Iowa, at the height of the epidemic of the living dead (LDs) that are beaten back only with mass killings of the afflicted, Wanda Mayhall finds and cares for a baby LD who inexplicably grows and ages, despite his dead, unhealing flesh. Stony spends his childhood hidden away, voraciously reading; his adolescence organizing with fellow LDs; and his adulthood in government incarceration, finally breaking out. Stony's curiosity about his own condition and unique origins lead him to study the LDs, resulting in some startling insights about the nature of the disease%E2%80%94and the nature of humanity. Like many survivors of terrible trauma, Stony hides his pain behind cynicism and brutal matter-of-factness: "One morning his mother asked him why he looked so tense. Did he look different? He tried to remember what his face felt like before he understood that the world was trying to kill him." His unique narration elevates this zombie story well above others of its kind. (July)