ALICE ISN'T DEAD by Joseph Fink
Kirkus Star

ALICE ISN'T DEAD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A female big-rig driver crisscrosses America searching for signs of the wife everyone else thinks is dead.

This spooky third novel by Welcome to Night Vale creator Fink (It Devours!, 2017, etc.) is similarly based on an original podcast and offers a more threatening but equally personal take on the horror genre. Switching from the podcast’s intimate first-person narration, delivered with powerful emotion by actress Jasika Nicole, allows Fink to stretch out into the more remote corners of his mythos while delivering the same scary beats. The main character is Keisha Taylor, whose wife, Alice, disappeared while working for the mysterious Bay and Creek trucking company: “No cause of death. No body. No certainty. There was a disappearance, and after a long and increasingly hopeless search, the presumption of death.” Now Keisha has taken a job with the company as a long-haul driver, which thrusts her firmly into the eerie mythology at work here. Keisha is a fascinating character partially because one of her defining characteristics is chronic anxiety, and it’s a potent imperfection for a character who battles literal monsters on a regular basis. Along the way, Fink unveils the strange universe that swallowed Alice whole, revealing an underground war between two secret societies, time-bending oracles, and other Lovecraft-ian horrors. He also gives Keisha a charismatic ally in Sylvia Parker, a teen on the run who becomes her “anxiety bro,” and a bloodcurdling enemy in the macabre, twisted police officer who stalks her across the span of the country. But the book also tempers its terrors with everyday humanity, portraying the mundane joys of love, the rich fabric of the American countryside, and surreal “Why did the chicken cross the road?” jokes that are a hallmark of the podcast. By the time Keisha learns Alice's fate, readers will realize that this marvelous character is more than the sum of her faceless anxiety or her very real fears.

A terrifying new storytelling experience that affirms, even in our darkest moments, that love conquers all.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-06-284413-2
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Harper Perennial/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2018




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