The year is 1922. The carnival is Pontilliar's Spectactular Star Light Miraculum, set up on the Texas-Louisiana border. One blazing summer night, a mysterious stranger steps out onto the midway, lights a cigarette and forever changes the world around him. Tattooed snake charmer Ruby has traveled with her father's carnival for most of her life and, jaded though she is, can't help but be drawn to the tall man in the immaculate black suit who has joined the carnival as a geek, a man who bites the heads off live chickens. Mercurial and charismatic, Daniel charms everyone he encounters but his manipulation of Ruby becomes complicated when it no longer becomes clear who is holding all the cards. For all of Daniel's secrets, Ruby has a few of her own. When one tragedy after another strikes the carnival, and it becomes clear that Daniel is somehow at the center of calamity, Ruby takes it upon herself to discover the mystery of the shadowy man pulling all the strings. Joined by Hayden, a roughneck-turned-mural-painter who has recently reentered her life, Ruby enters into a dangerous, eye-opening game with Daniel in which nothing and no one is as it seems and yet everything is at stake.
- Hardback | 320 pages
- 140 x 216mm
- 07 Feb 2019
- Polis Books
Praise for the novels of Steph Post "Steph Post is a great new discovery. Her stories carry a dark pulse that keeps the perfect beat in a world where people put everything they've got on the line." ―Michael Connelly "WALK IN THE FIRE is the best book by an author rightly compared to Harry Crews and Larry Brown, but who blazes a path all her own. You do not know the dank heart of the great state of Florida unless you've read Steph Post." ―Kent Wascom, author of The Blood of Heaven "WALK IN THE FIRE slings the Cannon family back on the page like a Molotov cocktail through a window. Few writers could coax a cast of characters this vast onto a single stage and orchestrate their story with such mastery. Post own the genre of North Florida noir." ―David Joy, author of Where the Light Tends to Go and The Weight Of This World "Post combines classical genre tropes with a touch of Harry Crews-style Southern gothic in this terrific crime novel." ―Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) on Walk in the Fire "Sizzling...Post has a real knack for creating a complex plot that maintains its drive through sweat-slicked settings that range from raucous Daytona Beach strip clubs to the kind of lonesome roads where nothing good happens." ―Tampa Bay Times "Steph Post's WALK IN THE FIRE is a wonderful accomplishment, teeming with a refreshingly unexpected cast of characters, and an original story in an unlikely setting. It's a wild ride through the dark side of the sunshine state." ―David Swinson, author of The Second Girl and Crime Song "Fascinating...a solid actioner with some tasty trimmings." ―Booklist "With wicked dexterity Steph Post gets at the deepness in living and loving, as well as the good and bad within us all. But WALK IN THE FIRE also takes us to dark places where evil reigns and the characters struggle with their worst and best intentions. Unputdownable crime fiction with a Southern Twist, WALK IN THE FIRE will continually surprise you with the speed of its plot and the mythic proportions of the story it unfolds." ―Natalie S. Harnett, author of The Hollow Ground "We tend to think of Florida as happy, warm, and sunny, but in Steph Post's wonderfully written new novel, A Walk in the Fire, she shows us a slew of cold-blooded folks and dark places. She writes characters so well I was very happy, after tearing through the book, to remember they only existed on the page. Excellent." ―Erik Storey, author of Nothing Short of Dying "Steph Post writes with an intensity all her own. Greed, power, and desperation collide to make us ask, what choices do we make when it seems like none are left? Walk in the Fire captures backwoods Florida in all its grit and glory. This is a superbly original thriller--as sleek, wild, and dangerous as any rattlesnake." ―Erica Wright, author of The Red Chameleon "Choose your superlative: compelling, exciting, thrilling. They all apply. In Walk in the Fire, Steph Post delivers more of her trademark style with a scorching plot burning around a beating heart and compelling characters you won't soon forget. The perfect blend of backwoods crime and family drama, southern fried and served hot." ―Eric Beetner, author of Rumrunners and Leadfoot "Steph Post's prose is lyrical and evocative. Her depiction of hardscrabble life in rural Florida is so effective, you'll wanna lock the doors and crank up the AC. But where LIGHTWOOD truly excels is in illuminating the ties that bind―and stretching them well beyond their breaking point." ―Chris Holm, award-winning author of The Killing Kind "Brilliant...Lightwood solidifies Steph Post as the official voice of working class literature in Florida, akin to what Daniel Woodrell has done for Missouri, or Ron Rash for the Carolinas." ―Brian Panowich, bestselling author of Bull Mountain "Post paints a large, vivid cast...Post's Florida is rather farther north than the world of Carl Hiaasen's fiction, but they share the dark comedy, intricate plotting and strong sense of paltry sin and mordant evil. Readers who like Hiaasen should find "Lightwood" well to their taste." ―Wilmington Star-News "Grabs the attention and offers up some memorable lines. (Post) proves that even a former prison inmate can rise up to be a strange, yet believable hero." ―Suspense Magazine "With spot-on characterizations and dialogue, Post explores the strength of family, religion, and vengeance in an absorbing literary mystery." ―Booklist "(A) gritty, propulsive crime novel...keeps up a headlong pace as the Cannons, the Scorpions, Sister Tulah and other forces clash brutally all around Judah and Ramey. You might not want to visit Silas in real life, but it makes a fine setting for this twisted and compelling tale." ―Tampa Bay Times
About Steph Post
Steph Post is the author of three acclaimed novels: A Tree Born Crooked, a semi-finalist for the Big Moose Prize, and two novels featuring Judah CannonL: Lightwood and Walk in the Fire. Post is a recipient of the Patricia Cornwell Scholarship for creative writing from Davidson College and the Vereen Bell writing award for fiction. She holds a Master's degree in Graduate Liberal Studies from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her short fiction has appeared in Haunted Waters: From the Depths, The Round-Up, The Gambler Mag, Foliate Oak, Kentucky Review, Vending Machine Press, Nonbinary Review and the anthology Stephen King's Contemporary Classics. Her short story "The Pallid Mask" has recently been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is a regular contributor to Small Press Book Review and Alternating Current Press and has published numerous book reviews and author interviews. She is currently the writing coach at Howard W. Blake High School in Tampa, FL. Visit author's website at stephpostfiction.com or @StephPostAuthor.