cover image Big Dark Hole

Big Dark Hole

Jeffrey Ford. Small Beer, $17 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-61873-184-5

Employing wide-ranging supernatural conceits—Dust Bowl demons, Amish hexes, figures from Greek legend—these 15 dark tales of evil, loss, and greed from Ford (Out of Body) are sure to send shivers up readers’ spines. Ford’s subtle stories peel away suburbia’s mask of mundanity to reveal sinister undertones—and most of his hapless characters are oblivious to the darkness around them until it’s too late. The title story sees inept cops and apathetic townsfolk abandon their search for an abused boy who crawled into a sewer pipe. In “The Thousand Eyes,” an artist works to capture the grotesque lounge singer he saw perform at a bar, but comes to believe that when he finishes the painting, he will disappear. A bored writer witnesses a tribe of tiny fairies scaling his bookshelves in “The Bookcase Expedition.” In 1933, the manager of a rundown carnival accepts a demon’s help in “Hibbler’s Minions.” And after Sisyphus’s boulder is destroyed in the melancholy yet redemptive “Sisyphus in Elysium,” the tormented and regretful Greek king searches the afterlife for the spirit of his wife. Readers will enjoy these creepy, thoughtful stories—but should be warned not to read them in the dark.[em] Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary. (July) [/em]