cover image Dark Companion

Dark Companion

Jim Nisbet, . . Dennis McMillan, $30 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-939767-54-0

Nisbet (Price of the Ticket ) captures the absurdities of present-day America with a rare pungency in this noir gem, which not only succinctly illuminates a complex process like a California pharmaceutical company's rapid rise, growth, takeover, corporate squeeze, outsourcing and inevitable decline but also puts a human face on it. Banerjhee Rolf, a bright, levelheaded Indian-American scientist, is content to spend his days with his wife, tending his garden and studying his beloved astronomy. Despite unfairly losing his lab job at the pharmaceutical company he helped start, he accepts his fate without anger. When Rolf's relationship with his seedy, drug-dealing neighbor, Toby Pride, and Pride's stoner girlfriend takes a weird turn, Rolf's placid world is shattered and he becomes a fugitive from justice. Crime, cosmology, politics, philosophy, physics and more enter into this cautionary tale, which climaxes with the suddenness of a cobra strike and then delivers a denouement that's both stunning and absolutely perfect. While Nisbet will never hit a bestseller list or be anointed by Oprah, his work will be praised and enjoyed long after that of more celebrated writers has been forgotten. (July)