cover image Spoonbenders


Daryl Gregory. Knopf, $26.95 (416p) ISBN 978-1-5247-3182-3

A family plagued with malfunctioning superpowers, persistent federal agents, and the mafia should make for a fast-paced and enthralling story, but a stalled plot grounds the latest from the author of Pandemonium. Expert con man Teddy Telemachus believes only in a good hustle until he meets Maureen McKinnon. Believing her act’s a scam, he soon realizes that she’s what he always pretended to be: a true psychic. Teddy and Maureen fall in love, get married, and have three supernaturally gifted children: Irene the “lie detector,” Frankie the psychokinetic, and Buddy the clairvoyant. After Maureen dies of cancer, any potential for a functional family unit falls apart. In 1995, 21 years after Maureen’s death, the family is in shambles: Irene, unemployed and broke, is forced to move back in with her father in Chicago; Frankie has big dreams but also a big debt to the local mob; and Buddy seemingly bumbles around with no attachment to reality. But when Matty, Irene’s 14-year-old son, realizes he can astral project, it begins a series of events that lead to September 4th, the last day Buddy can see in the future. Gregory seamlessly switches between different points of view, creating vivid voices for each Telemachus family member. But the intermittent bursts of incomplete information seem aimed at creating a surprise reveal, and result in a less-than-concrete understanding of the Telemachuses’ dynamics. 75,000-copy announced first printing. (June)