Fiend: A Novel

Fiend: A Novel

3.9 24
by Peter Stenson

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There’s more than one kind of monster.

   When Chase Daniels first sees the little girl in umbrella socks tearing open the Rottweiler, he's not too concerned. As a longtime meth addict, he’s no stranger to horrifying, drug-fueled hallucinations.  
   But as he and his fellow junkies soon discover,See more details below


There’s more than one kind of monster.

   When Chase Daniels first sees the little girl in umbrella socks tearing open the Rottweiler, he's not too concerned. As a longtime meth addict, he’s no stranger to horrifying, drug-fueled hallucinations.  
   But as he and his fellow junkies soon discover, the little girl is no illusion. The end of the world really has arrived. 
   The funny thing is, Chase’s life was over long before the apocalypse got here, his existence already reduced to a stinking basement apartment and a filthy mattress and an endless grind of buying and selling and using. He’s lied and cheated and stolen and broken his parents’ hearts a thousand times. And he threw away his only shot at sobriety a long time ago, when he chose the embrace of the drug over the woman he still loves. 
   And if your life’s already shattered beyond any normal hopes of redemption…well, maybe the end of the world is an opportunity. Maybe it’s a last chance for Chase to hit restart and become the man he once dreamed of being. Soon he’s fighting to reconnect with his lost love and dreaming of becoming her hero among civilization’s ruins. 
   But is salvation just another pipe dream? 
   Propelled by a blistering first-person voice and featuring a powerfully compelling antihero, Fiend is at once a riveting portrait of addiction, a pitch-black love story, and a meditation on hope, redemption, and delusion—not to mention one hell of a zombie novel.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Certain to invite comparisons to Hubert Selby and Cormac McCarthy…one scalding pressure cooker of a novel, and I advise you to buckle up and hold on tight because you're in for one hell of a ride.  --Donald Ray Pollock, author of The Devil All the Time and Knockemstiff
"This is the real meat. The last zombie novel you'll ever need."—Warren Ellis, New York Times bestselling author of Gun Machine and Twisted Little Vein
“Peter Stenson has done the near impossible in delivering a savage fire-storm of a page-turner while also enabling a hard and earnest look at addiction and love.  I tore through Fiend with the crazed fervor of an addict, but like all great stories these characters lingered in my thoughts long after I turned the last beautiful and brutal page.”—Alan Heathcock, National Magazine Award-winning author of Volt
“Peter Stenson is the bastard child of Cormac McCarthy and George Romero. In Fiend, he takes the reader on a dark joyride replete with junkies, zombies, and buckets of gore. Here is a novel that will jack your pulse and break your heart all at once.”—Steve Almond, New York Times bestselling author of Candyfreak and Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life
Kirkus Reviews
Tweakers versus zombies. That's about it, really. Stenson's narrator is Chase Daniels, a white-bread methamphetamine addict with a habit of describing his physical symptoms in excruciating detail. Our guy has been holed up for weeks with his best friend, Typewriter, getting "spun" on those glorious little shards of glass. When Chase rubs his eyes, looks out the window and sees a little girl devouring the carcass of a dog, he thinks it's just a vivid hallucination. It turns out that he and Typewriter managed to bypass a zombie apocalypse that plays out just like the ones you've seen on TV, with the creepy exception that the virus makes all its victims giggle. The apocalypse is enough to make Chase think that his ex-girlfriend, KK, was right when she skipped off to rehab. When Chase finally reunites with his lady love, though, he's saddled with her new boyfriend, and they're both high as Wu-Tang. The gang eventually figures out that smoking or shooting is the only way to avoid becoming a giggler, theoretically giving them free range to keep getting high. But scoring scante and avoiding their brethren addicts isn't easy even in a world without cops. Stenson's percussive style and grotesque imagery lend themselves well to the story. A crisply written, grisly mashup tailor-made for black comedy junkies.
Library Journal
When Chase Daniels surfaces from a meth bender to find the world overrun with zombies, he hopes he's just on a very bad trip. Grabbing his best friend Typewriter and his ex-girlfriend KK, both fellow tweakers, Chase heads off to find someplace with more drugs and fewer dead people. But if all that remains of humanity are zombies and meth addicts, there really is no safe place. Stenson draws realistic portraits of junkies who will do anything for their next high; zombies are just another obstacle. VERDICT There is a certain raw power to Stenson's language, although his descriptions range from icky to deeply horrific. This Trainspotting for the Walking Dead crowd might appeal to those willing to take a trip to the dark heart of an addict's depravity, with zombies on the side.

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Product Details

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5.92(w) x 8.42(h) x 1.13(d)

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Meet the Author

PETER STENSON received his MFA from Colorado State University in 2012. His stories and essays have been published in The Sun, The Bellevue Literary Review, The Greensboro Review, Confrontation, Post Road, Fugue, Harpur Palate, The Pinch, Blue Mesa Review, and elsewhere. He is also a recovering addict and has been sober for 10 years. He lives with his wife and daughter in Denver.

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