From the Publisher
“Nikitas' stellar first novel isn't just one of the best genre debuts of the year, it's one of the best releases -- period.” The Chicago Tribune
“Part whodunnit, part horror story, with a pinch of the supernatural, Nikitas's debut novel is not your average mystery... This is a genre-stretching narrative where the bad guys are human, the good guys are flawed, and rescue arrives late if at all. It is also literary, gripping, and very real; Nikitas captures the voices of his three female protagonists with compelling accuracy.” Library Journal
“A harrowing debut novel in which a girl who witnesses the brutal murder of her father learns the worst is yet to come... The prose is admirable, the mood pure Ingmar Bergman. Proceed with caution.” Kirkus Reviews
“A heartbreaking coming-of-age story and a gripping pyschological thriller.” Booklist
“A stylish, assured voice that depicts his characters in every harsh, flattering, beautiful light and shows how a single, seemingly random event has the effect of converging the lives of disparate and damaged people.” Sarah Weinman
“A fever dream and a waking nightmare--a hypnotic, sophisticated descent into hell. Nikitas is the heir apparent to Joyce Carol Oates.” Marcus Sakey, THE BLADE ITSELF
“Derek owes me a night's sleep...Loved it! That opening chapter shocked me rigid.... Are you sure this is a debut? The writing is to roar for and loud and triumphant. Just a marvelous, wonderful book!” Ken Bruen
Short story writer Nikitas fills his engaging, atmospheric first novel, set in upstate New York, with Swedish mythology and American carnage. The life of 15-year-old Lucia "Luc" Moberg, who dresses goth and rebels against her mother, irrevocably changes after a trip to the mall with her S.U.N.Y. professor father, Oscar. Stealing a few CDs for her friends from a music and video store, she runs to the bookstore to find her father and begs him to leave immediately, feigning illness. Unfortunately for Luc, far worse awaits the Mobergs in the mall parking lot-an armed gunman who shoots and kills Oscar. The murder sets off a violent chain of events that tears apart the Mobergs and their community. Fans of Joyce Carol Oates, who provides a blurb, will in particular enjoy this unrelentingly dark and brutal novel with its ironic twists. (Oct.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Part whodunnit, part horror story, with a pinch of the supernatural, Nikitas's debut novel is not your average mystery. It's the tale of three women: Luc (pronounced "Luke") Moberg, a 15-year-old girl who wears black and occasionally shoplifts for fun; Tanya Yasbeck, a very pregnant 19-year-old from the street who hopes her boyfriend's motorcycle gang membership will lead to a better life; and Greta Hurd, a divorced, middle-aged homicide detective on the outs with her soon-to-be-married daughter. When a trip to the mall ends in Luc's father being murdered, the three threads of the story begin to intertwine, and by the end, each character gets pushed to the limits of her being. This is a genre-stretching narrative where the bad guys are human, the good guys are flawed, and rescue arrives late if at all. It is also literary, gripping, and very real; Nikitas captures the voices of his three female protagonists with compelling accuracy. While this book may not appeal to readers of formulaic crime fiction, it is recommended for both public and academic libraries. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ6/1/07; Joyce Carol Oates nominated Nikitas for a Pushcart Award in 2005.-Ed.]
School Library Journal
Adult/High SchoolCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Lucia "Luc" Moberg, 15, wears Goth clothing and has dark moods. When she steals at the mall, she quickly leaves with her father and then witnesses his brutal shooting-through their windshield. Coping with her mother's subsequent bizarre behavior is just the beginning of what lies ahead for Luc. Her very survival is at stake. The detective working on the case investigates on the assumption that the perpetrator is either Luc or her mother. Nikitas weaves and twists the lives of three strong and very different characters into a shocking finale. How they and others respond to past and present extreme trauma makes for compelling reading. The narrative burns as bright as the title against the darkness of the personalities. Images of Norse folktales from her father's stories appear in Luc's dreams and waking moments as she encounters deranged gang members far removed from her suburban banality. Those who like Stephen King's characters but seek something less supernatural will find this tragic and fast-paced first novel compelling. -Deirdre Cerkanowicz, Berkeley Public Library, CA
A harrowing debut novel in which a girl who witnesses the brutal murder of her father learns the worst is yet to come. If only she'd known, 15-year-old Lucia Moberg would have done it all so differently. "But she didn't know, and there's the guilt that will not subside." Bent on petty larceny-Lucia prides herself on light fingers-she'd conned her father into driving her to the mall. Her plan to lift a couple of CDs for some friends backfires when two instances of thievery go drastically awry. In the first, she narrowly escapes capture. Minutes later, on their way home, her father is gunned down, murdered by the carjacker to whom he refused to give his wallet. Enter Investigator Greta Hurd of the Rochester PD, the kind of detective who disdains the obvious. Having rejected the carjacking as the whole story, Greta begins asking pointed questions of Lucia's anxious mom, of the boy next door whose general scruffiness runs counter to type and of certain unlovely members of a bottom-feeding gang called the Skeleton Crew. The pace accelerates and eventually explodes into violence. Lucia, caught in the middle, bears the brunt of the ensuing mindless savagery and manages to cope, survive intact and somehow emerge from the experience a bit less burdened by guilt. The prose is admirable, the mood pure Ingmar Bergman. Proceed with caution.