Published today in the Colorado Review is my review of Valerie Nieman’s novel To the Bones. Here is a snippet:
“In this unusual tale of death and monsters and environmental devastation, horror, science fiction, romance, and satire bleed together to form a vibrant literary delight that is as powerful and imposing as the fearsome orange-hued river that runs through it.
This nicely paced, suspenseful tale, imbued with detailed knowledge of the Appalachian region and the coal mining industry, is aided by Nieman’s rich, artistic language and redolent descriptions of a grim but fascinating literary ecosphere where giant cracks open in the ground, ordinary rock underfoot leaks a kind of vile pus, and orange goo fills the waterways. It’s a strange, disconcerting place populated by thoughtful, articulate people; trigger-happy rent-a-cops; zombies; and residents who can mysteriously evaporate or be stripped to the bone.”
In To the Bones, the fourth novel by American author Valerie Nieman, who teaches creative writing at North Carolina A&T State University, Nieman chisels out a post-apocalyptic, eco-justice love story set in the vivid yet fictional Carbon County, West Virginia. The tense and atmospheric story, enlivened by Celtic lore, Appalachian legends, and killer zombies, captures the reader’s attention from the outset, beginning with the intriguing emergence from a deep, coal mine crater of the central character, a hapless government auditor named Darrick MacBrehon.
Read the full, in-depth book review here.