cover image Ghosts of Yesterday

Ghosts of Yesterday

Jack Cady. Night Shade Books, $15 (239pp) ISBN 978-1-892389-48-0

For more than 30 years, Cady has been one of America's great chroniclers of characters and places. In novels like The Haunting of Hood Canal and stories like ""The Night They Killed Road Dog,"" he has relied heavily on a deep knowledge of people and of technique. Often called a writer's writer, Cady seems concerned less about categories than about the quality of his work. His new collection continues to display that excellent craftsmanship in long stories such as ""The Time That Land Forgot"" and ""Jeremiah."" Few writers can capture the rhythms of blue-collar speech as well as Cady does in ""The Ghost of Dive Bomber Hill,"" with its pithy yet descriptive dialogue. That same sense of rhythm manifests itself in the narrative: ""Then, one night, the ghost showed up and there were no more wrecks. Drunks still ran off the road and tumbled down the mountain. Trucks still sometimes ended up in ditches, but that rock face never again took another truck. Could it be, it just could be, that the ghost knew he was going to have to pay off a debt?"" A wonderfully luminous quality pervades Cady's fiction, sometimes because of his style, sometimes because he has allowed the reader to experience some darkly shining truth. Although marred by the inclusion of two inconsequential nonfiction pieces and one or two minor stories, this collection provides a good sample of a writer in top form. (Jan. 7) FYI: The publisher also offers a limited edition, signed and slipcased, for $60.