by Dan Darling


by Dan Darling


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John Stick, zoo keeper and giant, just wants to sit alone in a dark room with his pet tarantula. However, when ten thousand birds fall dead from the New Mexican sky, the woman he loves, an ornithologist with severe facial deformity, begs him to decipher the cause. He grudgingly agrees, a decision that plunges him into a tangle of weirdness as old as the American Southwest.

Stick's investigation reveals that the birds' mass death is an offshoot of a much larger conflict. On one side, the Good Friends, an underground railroad for undocumented immigrants, wants Stick to oust the man they believe responsible for killing the birds and persecuting immigrants. This same man leads The Minutemen Militia, which covets Stick's expertise in handling their genetically mutated immigrant-tracking monsters. Meanwhile, a beautiful animal theologian tries to seduce Stick into believing his existence is key to balancing an off-kilter universe. Shady characters whisper of chupacabras loose in the desert. The exsanguinated corpses of strange beasts begin to turn up, some of them Stick's close pals. At the center of it all lurks an enigmatic antagonist who, so they say, has harnessed the power of God in an ancient hot springs and is using it to herald doomsday.

Stick's journey upends his stable life, shakes apart his fragile relationships, and sets him on a collision course with his family's secret ancestry. Ultimately, as chupacabra-like monsters, Minutemen, and Good Friends head toward a final showdown, Stick must make a hard choice about his own identity and values.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781975982881
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 11/30/2017
Series: Albuquerque Trilogy , #1
Pages: 338
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.76(d)

About the Author

Dan grew up with a soft spot for everyone he ever met. He was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a city part desert, part flood plains, part mountains-and all contradiction. At sixteen, he did a year abroad in Sweden, where he founded a youth circus with a crew of teenage criminal offenders. He spent the next few years performing as a juggler, magician, and balloon artist.

His affection for humanity led him into literature, for which he earned an undergraduate degree in English with a minor in Chinese at The College of Wooster. After graduation, Dan won a Watson Fellowship to study circus arts and culture in China, Denmark, Norway, and Spain. It was during this year, while toting around a Norwegian typewriter and a bag full of juggling clubs, that Dan began to write in earnest.

With a journal always in tow, Dan wandered through varieties of work for the next decade. He managed a coffee shop in Michigan; he waited tables and tended bar in Australia; he worked as a subject matter expert for the Internal Revenue Service in Portland, Oregon. Finally, after producing a novel draft that was 800 pages too long, he returned to Albuquerque to study creative writing.

Dan earned his MFA in creative writing at the University of New Mexico. His dissertation was called Blood Heist, a novel exploring the violence, poverty, and conflict in the postcolonial Southwest. He has taught creative and expository writing at the University of New Mexico, Grinnell College in Iowa, and Winona State University. Currently, he teaches English composition, creative writing, and literature at Normandale College in the Twin Cities, where he lives with his wife and young kid. You can find him bowling every Tuesday night. He hopes to die before he changes jobs, bowling teams, or anything else about his wonderful life.

Dan's passions are language and people. He's studied Chinese, Swedish, Spanish, and several other languages. Dan is a huge Dickens fan, and beyond that loves the great magical realist writers of every country: Gunter Grass, Haruki Murakami, Jose Saramago, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende, Toni Morrison. He's a sucker for old hard-boiled detective novels and thinks that Raymond Chandler is the most brilliant prose and scene- stylist who ever lived. He aspires to write novels that matter half as much as any of his idols.

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