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From Barnes & NobleDiscover Great New Writers
With its recurring characters and variant themes, this striking debut collection of stories about the inhabitants of a single heartland community has captured the imaginations of early readers.
Already a winner of a National Magazine Award in fiction, Heathcock sets his debut collection of edgy, noirish short stories in the fictional town of Krafton, located somewhere in America's heartland. Set against the measureless tableau of the prairie with its wheat and cornfields, his characters encounter the dark, inner impulses of their own hearts.
In these stories, some of which share recurring characters, brokenness and redemption vie with each other and violence simmers menacingly below the surface, erupting in unexpected ways. The title story, "Volt," sees Krafton's female sheriff seeking to apprehend an Iraqi war veteran. In "Peacekeeper," she steps over the line in a missing-person case. The town's Baptist minister attempts to rebuild his marriage after the death of his son in "Lazarus," and in "The Staying Freight" a farmer goes to extremes to deal with his grief and guilt. "Smoke" follows a fifteen-year-old boy who reluctantly helps his father cover up a crime. A group of young teenagers go wild in a deserted town at night, egged on by a collective sense of boredom and alienation in "Fort Apache."
Heathcock's expert storytelling and writing skills invite readers to feel empathy for the characters as they grasp at the deliverance that is sometimes just slightly out of reach. The potent mix of humanity and ominous foreboding throughout Volt will mesmerize readers, keeping them off-kilter and feeling the sharp edge of nervous anticipation.