The Job of the Wasp (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

This book is like Eileen meets A Confederacy of Dunces meets Sleep Away Camp, set against the backdrop of a possibly haunted boys orphanage. Come for the overly articulate but woefully unaware teenage narrator, stay for the Devils Backbone meets Lord of the Flies vibe.

— From Anje

The Job of the Wasp is narrated by the most recent arrival at a school for orphaned boys. The new boy immediately starts to feel isolated and at odds with the other students at this creepy academy. When the dead bodies start to turn up, our narrator must place blame or possibly find himself as the prime suspect. Are the murders the act of a demented headmaster, or a twisted game played by the boys themselves? This dark and unsettling novel is a coming-of-age tale, a murder mystery and a Gothic ghost story that will have you turning pages at a breakneck pace.

— From Mark B.

January 2018 Indie Next List

“What is it that stories about adolescent boys and orphanages so often seem abnormally rife with tragedy, allure, and horror? Such is the setting for Colin Winnette's fantastic new novel, which follows a boy recently admitted to such an institution, only to uncover a murder mystery that will cause him to question his own existence and purpose. Winnette successfully balances an atmosphere of the fantastic alongside the gritty reality of 30-odd orphaned boys and their headmaster, creating a world where answers are nearly impossible to manufacture and wild theories percolate. Lord of the Flies meets Guillermo del Toro's The Devil's Backbone in this incredibly haunting book, which might leave you wondering about the possibility of the paranormal within your own life. You've been warned; now pick it up.”
— John Gibbs, Green Apple Books on the Park, San Francisco, CA


A witty and grisly gothic unlike anything I've ever read. You should absolutely read this. --Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble

A new arrival at an isolated school for orphaned boys quickly comes to realize there is something wrong with his new home. He hears chilling whispers in the night, his troubled classmates are violent and hostile, and the Headmaster sends cryptic messages, begging his new charge to confess. As the new boy learns to survive on the edges of this impolite society, he starts to unravel a mystery at the school's dark heart. And that's when the corpses start turning up.

A coming-of-age tale, a Gothic ghost story, and a murder mystery all in one, The Job of the Wasp is a bloodcurdling and brilliantly subversive novel about paranoia, love, and the nightmare of adolescence.

About the Author

Colin Winnette is the author of Haints Stay (Two Dollar Radio, 2015), Coyote (Les Figues Press, 2015), Fondly (Atticus Books, 2013) Animal Collection (Spork Press, 2012), and Revelation (Mutable Sound Press, 2011). His books have been translated into French and Italian, and his writing has appeared in Playboy, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Believer, Lucky Peach, and numerous other journals and anthologies. He lives in San Francisco.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781593766801
ISBN-10: 1593766807
Publisher: Soft Skull Press
Publication Date: January 9th, 2018
Pages: 208
Language: English