From the wild and wonderful mind of Shamus Award-winning author John Straley comes a poetic masterpiece that explores the ugly truths of the prison industrial complex, the crumbling state of humanity, the role memory plays in the formation of the self, and much more.
It's been seven years since Gloomy Knob landed in the Ted Stevens High-Security Federal Penitentiary and five years since the end of the war, the one North Korea started when they sent a missile to Cold Storage, Alaska. Serving a life sentence for the murder of his sister, Gloomy spends histime trying to forget about the past.
Then one day, Gloomy is snatched from his off-site work station. Instead of celebrating his newfound freedom, Gloomy comes unmoored--he feels he belongs in prison. But his kidnappers believe Gloomy knows where a second nuclear warhead is hidden and demand to know where it is. The clock is ticking, and Gloomy knows he needs to find the missing warhead fast, or his wife, his friends, and the entire town of Cold Storage will be obliterated. The only problem is he has no idea where it is.
As Gloomy struggles to escape, the memories he fought hard to repress begin to creep out from the strange corners of his mind, first in rivulets, then in waves. In a drug-induced haze, Gloomy makes a discovery that may just bring him the closure he desires--if it doesn't kill him first.
"Straley strikes the perfect balance of humor and pathos in this story about the McCahon brothers." --New York Times Book Review
"[Straley] writes crime novels populated by perpetrators whose hearts are filled with more poetry than evil." --The Wall Street Journal
"Straley isn't prolific, but when he does publish a book it's a gem . . . The crime aspect of Cold Storage, Alaska is pretty casual. Straley's mostly interested in his characters and how they interact on a personal level . . . It's always a pleasure to read Straley's vivid studies of these folks--the slightly cracked, rugged and very funny characters of the Far North." --The Seattle Times
"Thoroughly enjoyable and slightly wacko . . . Dashes of magical realism mixed with ironic humor reminiscent of the Coen brothers and violence worthy of Quentin Tarantino make this second series novel a winner. Compelling characters and deft treatment of themes like redemption and the power of community take it to a level beyond." --The Boston Globe
"Lesser writers look to their characters' poor choices and attempts to rectify them, John Straley loves his characters for just those choices. Hölderlin wrote: 'Poetically man dwells on the earth.' Some of us wind up in limericks, some in heroic couplets. But damned near every one of us, sooner or later, ends up in one of Straley's wise, wayward, wonderfully unhinged novels." -- James Sallis, author of Drive and the Lew Griffin mysteries
"What a warm, engaging, profoundly human book this is: its skin crackling, its heart enormous and open. It's a mystery with judicious blasts of violence and dread, but it opens also onto the bigger mysteries--of community, of family, of place. The several lives that intertwine throughout the story reach moments of quiet grace that resonate stealthily but deeply." --John Darnielle, lead singer of The Mountain Goats and author of Wolf in White Van
John Straley was born in Redwood City, California. He received a BA in English from the University of Washington, but settled in Sitka, Alaska, with his wife, Jan, a prominent whale biologist. John worked for thirty years as a criminal defense investigator, and many of the characters in his books were inspired by his work. Now retired, he lives with his wife in a bright green house on the beach and writes in his weathertight office overlooking Old Sitka Rocks. The former Writer Laureate of Alaska, he is the author of ten novels, including Cold Storage, Alaska and the Shamus Award-winner The Woman Who Married a Bear, the first Cecil Younger investigation.