Halloween will never be the same

It’s Halloween night, 1963, in De Pere, Wisconsin, and all is not well.

Evelyn Schmidt’s life is almost at an end—she’s been diagnosed with cancer and given only days to live. But she’ll be damned if she’ll go quietly, in the hospital or at home. She’s heading for the Idle Hour to drink up a storm, whether her fellow drinkers want her there or not.

Steve Omsted is only sixteen, but it seems to him his life might as well be over. He’s on academic probation, he’s been kicked off the football team, and now his girlfriend has dropped him. He’s looking for an easy target for his rage and has set up a nighttime ambush for his victim.

Chuck Williams feels his life hasn’t even started yet—but he can’t wait any longer. Sure, he’ll go trick-or-treating, but he doesn’t want to end up waxing windows with the other fifth-graders; he’s aiming to hang out with the older kids and cause some real trouble.

As the evening unfolds, the paths of these and other characters in their town converge in a series of shocking events that will change the lives of everyone involved.

In stark language and with bold, cinematic vision, John Dixon delivers a stunning portrait of a small town at war with itself.

"Recalling the work of fellow Midwesterner Sinclair Lewis in its stark portrayal of social hierarchies and the lengths to which people will go in order to fit in . . . The events of Halloween 1963, in De Pere, Wisc. (the author's hometown), are delivered in minimalist prose, reading like a catalogue of masochism. The ensemble cast includes a number of misfits, each of whom takes out personal suffering on others . . . In this debut novel, adults are mean, but little boys are meaner. " --Kirkus Reviews

"Churns with action . . . the author demonstrates talent with the dark action sequences in this grim, charged portrayal of smalltown life in the early ’60s." --Publishers Weekly

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A Map of the Dark
by John Dixon

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