American Elsewhere (2013) Robert Jackson Bennett
Is it Science Fiction? Yes
Is it Fantasy? Yes
Is it Horror? Probably
Is it religious allegory? I think so.
Is it a love story? Maybe….
What a wonderfully weird book. Our heroine, Mona Bright, is terrific. She is a kick-ass, take no prisoners ex cop who lands in a surreal little New Mexico town where a great night for a couple is for the husband to hook up toasters to the engine of a lime-green Cadillac while his wife stands by holding warm lemonade in high heels until her feet bleeds.
Mona inherits a house in Wink New Mexico from her late mother after her drunken father dies. Her first task is to find the town of Wink which is not on any map. When she finally finds it the mystery deepens. On the day that her mother killed her self the town of Wink was devastated by a lightening storm and the girl bathing in her old mother’s house was electrocuted.
While Mona is getting her bearings in this weird place the inhabitants are at war. Someone is killing off the leading (eldest) interlopers by pairing them up with a rabbit skull that somehow leads them to a supernatural killer – the Wilding.
The love story comes in between Mr. First and his little friend, Gracie. How is First going to try and save Gracie from the coming abomination – MOTHER. Oh Mother dear. The question is whose mother is it. Can this monster somehow be related to Laura Alvarez – Mona’s mother? Mona finds that her mother was once a brilliant scientist working in Coburn labs studying dimensional bruising. Could an entity from beyond have taken over the body of Laura and led to her apparent schizo break and suicide? Does this malevolent beast want to use Mona’s lost baby to transverse back to Wink and beyond? Who will help Mona fend this threat off – Mrs. Benjamin?, Mr. Parson?, Ganymede?, Gracie? First?, the Wilding? Or will Mona give Mother her pan-dimensional baby as a tribute? Not a chance!
This book reminds me of Neil Gaiman, Steven King, HP Lovecraft, C.S. Lewis but mostly the strange and lovely mind of Madeline L’Engle. In any event enjoy! And when you are done try Bennett’s City of Stairs for something much different.