Is there a kinder soul writing today than Willy Vlautin? Although there are villainous characters in his novels, he keeps them off-stage most of the time and usually gives you a reason for the villainy. THE FREE looks at three or so overlapping characters in a small Southern town. This story revolves around Leroy, an injured Vet who, in attempting to kill himself, ends up in a coma. There is nurse Pauline, who cares for her patients with great tenderness. She also care for her miserable father who criticizes her as she is spooning soup into his mouth, and there is a opiod-addicted teenager, Jo who can't seem to extricate herself for the guys who got her hooked. And then there is Freddy, hoping he will get to see his daughters and working for an abusive jerk. There are so many moments of grace for each of these characters, it serves to lift you up despite their harsh circumstances. I've got his new one waiting for me.
Patricia Abbott is the author of more than 125 stories that have appeared online, in print journals and in various anthologies. She is the author of two print novels CONCRETE ANGEL (2015) and SHOT IN DETROIT (2016)(Polis Books). CONCRETE ANGEL was nominated for an Anthony and Macavity Award in 2016. SHOT IN DETROIT was nominated for an Edgar Award and an Anthony Award in 2017. A collection of her stories I BRING SORROW AND OTHER STORIES OF TRANSGRESSION will appear in 2018.