cover image Out of Body

Out of Body

Jeffrey Ford., $14.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-250-25015-5

Ford’s dark fantasy (after Ahab’s Return) is a thrilling supernatural slugfest acted out by sleeping souls in the “night world” of the astral plane. Owen Hapstead, a librarian in the quiet town of Westwend, survives a pistol-whipping during a convenience store holdup and (possibly as a result of the head trauma) discovers that his ethereal self can break free to roam the town while his corporeal self sleeps. During his discarnate jaunts he meets Melody, a fellow sleeper who mentors him through the night world’s possibilities and perils—among them “cutters,” beings who can fatally sever the intangible cord tethering the sleep self to the body, and an even more horrifying killer whose true identity comes as a late surprise and whose predations add frightening complexity and purpose to the couple’s nocturnal adventures. Ford’s elaboration of the night world is wildly imaginative and his depiction of Owen’s invisible explorations of it verges on the voyeuristic, adding unusual piquancy to the story. Readers will find this well-wrought tale of a mysterious world both eerie and bewitching. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. (June)