STARRED REVIEW
December 2018

Alice Isn’t Dead

By Joseph Fink

“This isn’t a story. It’s a road trip.” So prefaces Joseph Fink’s gonzo parable of anxiety, evil and the monsters they can spawn.

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“This isn’t a story. It’s a road trip.” So prefaces Joseph Fink’s gonzo parable of anxiety, evil and the monsters they can spawn.

When we meet Keisha Taylor, she is trying to enjoy a sandwich at a truck stop—but neither the sandwich nor the ambiance is making it easy. At the booth next to her, a gelatinous blob of a man leers and grunts at her as he shovels eggs into his mouth with his hands. The situation devolves from unsettling to terrifying when the blob drags another customer outside and eats him alive—as the other diners act like nothing is amiss.

Keisha wasn’t always a trucker. She once lived with her loving wife, Alice, until Alice disappeared and was presumed dead. Six months after the funeral, Keisha begins seeing her wife on the scene of live news broadcasts from around the country. Alice isn’t dead after all.

On little more than instinct and a sparse set of clues, Keisha gets a trucking job and sallies forth to solve the mystery of Alice’s disappearance. But what Keisha uncovers is far more sensational than one woman’s wrecked marriage: She discovers a country haunted by cannibalistic ghouls, wandering oracles and a malevolent wraith in a police uniform. What are these creatures, who is protecting them, and why are most people so intent on ignoring their existence?

Fink, co-creator of the cult sensation podcast “Welcome to Night Vale,” evokes his own experiences with anxiety through the character of Keisha. His revelations about the nature of the disorder are as delicately limned as his action scenes are jarringly gory.

Bracingly candid and unabashedly epic, Alice Isn’t Dead is indeed a wild road trip that backs up Keisha’s hard-won philosophy that “the only way out is through.”

 

This article was originally published in the December 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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Alice Isn’t Dead

Alice Isn’t Dead

By Joseph Fink
Harper Perennial
ISBN 9780062844132

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