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Dazzlingly original, Cassondra Windwalker’s Idle Hands crackles with wit and the real-world traumas of a family whose lives change course courtesy of divine intervention from the devil. It’s a veritable feast of the imagination, and a feat of thought-provoking story-telling that will surely appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman. After an abusive marriage, Purdie makes the tough and brave decision to leave her husband to start a fresh life. It’s a heart-breaking move, made harder by her children’s questions: “Your daddy had a choice of his own to make, and he didn’t choose us,” she explains. “But I am choosing you. I am choosing you above everything. We’re going to build a new life, and it’s going to be beautiful.” Purdie makes this happen, but when tragedy hits years later, she’s led to question the paths she’s taken, and tormented by harrowing “what-ifs” and “if-onlys”. Desperate to shield her family and safeguard their future, she makes a deal with the devil, a philosophical puppet master who now pulls the strings of Purdie’s life. This is a cunningly-told tale of stark dichotomies – between voices and viewpoints, between domestic experience and metaphysical speculation. It shows how we grapple with rationalising decisions and notions of freewill and fate. Every bit as provocative and playful as the devil him (or her) self, this is a daring blast of a book.
Weekly newspaper editor Jeff Paines mind is filled with the detritus of newspaper clippings, presidential tweets, crossword puzzles, and horoscopes. When his artist girlfriend Ada Grigori announces her intention to leave him, he becomes obsessed with findingor manufacturingconnections between otherwise unrelated events. Driven by professional curiosity and unrelenting cynicism, Paine uses his newspaper to manipulate the people of his hometown of Brisby, Colorado into revealing the ugliness lurking beneath their placid exteriors. A series of dog mutilations and two barely-noticed disappearances set the town on edge, till Paine is able to frame himself for Adas murdereven though her body has never been found, and there is no evidence of foul play.Bury The Lead draws readers into the mind of a brilliant but highly unreliable narrator, forcing them to question their own perceptions of objective truth and the existence of a free press in a world where an unsubstantiated tweet can carry more power than an investigative report.