FOUR D

Confused people with hazy longings confront mysterious forces in this collection of four enigmatic stories.

  Morrison’s characters, often nameless and adrift in undefined settings without social referents, are the playthings of spectral entities that ensnare them in Kafka-esque conundrums. The anonymous protagonist of “Space” notices that people, objects and buildings have suddenly started disappearing and feels that “I myself am probably nobody anymore.” He’s not unhappy with the prospect, until the strange power behind the disappearances starts manipulating his relationships with his lover and best friend. In “Four Rooms,” a woman with multiple personality disorder awakens to find herself imprisoned in a labyrinth of rooms, and her search for a way out forces her to confront her devastating divorce and the bickering voices in her head. In “Guest,” an unnamed man in an unfamiliar city invites a beautiful woman into his hotel room; she seems to embody the bounty of nature—or the even greater promise of death. The collection’s most conventional tale, “The Principle of Luidgi,” features a callow young man who works hard to accumulate a satisfying job, good friends and a fiancée—only to decide that everything bores him, so he lets loose with a spree of sexual vandalism. Morrison’s storytelling has a dreamlike quality as it glides past logical non sequiturs and resonant symbolism—“She immediately opened her mouth broadly, and I saw her pull a pair out of it…‘See, I can bear fruit too’ ”—with deadpan equanimity. The foggy narratives and cryptic dialogue make the stories as puzzling and eerie—and sometimes as tedious—as dreams can be. Still, Morrison’s poetic imagery (“[b]ig, brown sweet cherries started to fall out of her dark eyes”) and off-kilter japes (“he was going to drop by the market to get some tomatoes…he’d buy them, put them in the kitchen and start hypnotizing them to make them talk”) give his surrealist prose considerable charm.

 

Pub Date: Nov. 23, 2011

ISBN: 978-1463792664

Page Count: 180

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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An anodyne visit with Tricia and her friends and enemies hung on a thin mystery.

A KILLER EDITION

Too much free time leads a New Hampshire bookseller into yet another case of murder.

Now that Tricia Miles has Pixie Poe and Mr. Everett practically running her bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue, she finds herself at loose ends. Her wealthy sister, Angelica, who in the guise of Nigela Ricita has invested heavily in making Stoneham a bookish tourist attraction, is entering the amateur competition for the Great Booktown Bake-Off. So Tricia, who’s recently taken up baking as a hobby, decides to join her and spends a lot of time looking for the perfect cupcake recipe. A visit to another bookstore leaves Tricia witnessing a nasty argument between owner Joyce Widman and next-door neighbor Vera Olson over the trimming of tree branches that hang over Joyce’s yard—also overheard by new town police officer Cindy Pearson. After Tricia accepts Joyce’s offer of some produce from her garden, they find Vera skewered by a pitchfork, and when Police Chief Grant Baker arrives, Joyce is his obvious suspect. Ever since Tricia moved to Stoneham, the homicide rate has skyrocketed (Poisoned Pages, 2018, etc.), and her history with Baker is fraught. She’s also become suspicious about the activities at Pets-A-Plenty, the animal shelter where Vera was a dedicated volunteer. Tricia’s offered her expertise to the board, but president Toby Kingston has been less than welcoming. With nothing but baking on her calendar, Tricia has plenty of time to investigate both the murder and her vague suspicions about the shelter. Plenty of small-town friendships and rivalries emerge in her quest for the truth.

An anodyne visit with Tricia and her friends and enemies hung on a thin mystery.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0272-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Joe’s fifth case is his best balanced, most deeply felt and most mystifying to date: an absolute must.

OUT OF RANGE

Crime-fighting Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett outdoes himself during a temporary transfer from sleepy Saddlestring to fashionable Jackson Hole.

Will Jensen, the Jackson game warden, was a great guy and a model warden, but once his wife left him six months ago, he spiraled into madness and suicide, and now Joe’s been called to replace him. The transition is anything but smooth. There’s no question of Joe’s family coming with him, so he’s reduced to hoping he can get a signal for the cell-phone calls he squeezes into his busy schedule. En route to his new posting, Joe has to pursue a marauding grizzly. He arrives to meet a formidable series of challenges. Cantankerous outfitter Smoke Van Horn wants to go on attracting elk with illegal salt licks without the new warden’s interference. Animal Liberation Network activist Pi Stevenson wants him to publicize her cause and adopt a vegan diet. Developer Don Ennis wants to open a housing development for millionaires who like their meat free of additives. Ennis’s trophy wife Stella simply wants Joe—and he wants her back. As he wrestles with these demands, and with a supervisor riled over Joe’s track record of destroying government property in pursuit of bad guys (Trophy Hunt, 2004, etc.), Joe slowly becomes convinced that Will did not kill himself.

Joe’s fifth case is his best balanced, most deeply felt and most mystifying to date: an absolute must.

Pub Date: May 5, 2005

ISBN: 0-399-15291-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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