Short story writer Nikitas fills his engaging, atmospheric first novel, set in upstate New York, with Swedish mythology and American carnage. The life of 15-year-old Lucia Luc Moberg, who dresses goth and rebels against her mother, irrevocably changes after a trip to the mall with her S.U.N.Y. professor father, Oscar. Stealing a few CDs for her friends from a music and video store, she runs to the bookstore to find her father and begs him to leave immediately, feigning illness. Unfortunately for Luc, far worse awaits the Mobergs in the mall parking lot—an armed gunman who shoots and kills Oscar. The murder sets off a violent chain of events that tears apart the Mobergs and their community. Fans of Joyce Carol Oates, who provides a blurb, will in particular enjoy this unrelentingly dark and brutal novel with its ironic twists.
Edited to add: Derek Nikitas is giving a reading at Wordsmiths at 2:00 on Sunday. Be there.