Twilight Pariah Cover shot


Jeffrey Ford
A Tor.com Book
September 12, 2017
reviewed by Brian James Lewis

Wow, this is one cool book! Jeffrey Ford writes with a flavor that makes readers feel like they’re visiting with old friends. His characters have warmth and a three-dimensional quality that makes them real. So if you are feeling lonely during this whole crazy pandemic thing, The Twilight Pariah from Tor.com Books will give you a set of friends to hang out and share an adventure with! Plus, the time frame of the book, students on summer break before their last semester of college is a good theme for this time of year. I’d also like to mention that Ellen Datlow is the editor of this fine novel, which lets you know that this is going to be a good read!

The Twilight Pariah will bring back memories to those who’ve lived in the smallish rural towns of North America. Simpler times and ways that allow you to see a truck before it runs you down, While there are cell phones and laptops in the book, they are used now and then as actual tools in an eclectic mix of methods to handle a situation. We are not constantly plugged in and expected to understand complex electronic functions, something I really appreciate!

For reference purposes, I’m going to give you a quick rundown of the four major characters in the book in hopes of hooking your interest in reading more of The Twilight Pariah:

Maggie: Is a headstrong young woman who can do anything she puts her energies to. Amazingly smart and eccentric, Maggie can rebuild a motor or find out facts about an event that happened centuries ago.

Russel Babcock: One huge, mean, football playing machine with a heart of gold and a soft spot for lean, handsome men. Will do anything for a friend. A gentle giant

Luther: The love of Russel’s life. Not a muscular colossus, but certainly not defenseless. Sharp as whip with a James Dean level of cool

Henry: Our narrator, who does a really fine job. Even though he feels that he isn’t much good at it, only a true writer could’ve written such a well-balance about the events that unfold.

The Twilight Pariah starts off with Maggie picking up Henry in her Ford Galaxie. She brought this car back to life and drives it like she stole it. After informing Henry that she has changed her college major yet again, Maggie recruits the guys as diggers for a little project that may or may not be legal. A little archeological dig at an abandoned mansion outside of town. The place is in shambles, but one portion isn’t and that’s where Maggie wants to conduct some serious research. So what if it’s an outhouse?

However, it soon becomes clear that this isn’t the usual archeological dig for stuff like arrowheads, milk bottles, and loose change. Nope, what the group unearths is a lot more extraordinary and dangerous with a capital D. What are a tiny horned skeleton and bottle of mysterious liquid doing buried in a privy? The stuff may defy logic, but Maggie and company have to do something quick or pay the consequences. Bad things are happening fast and it’s not gonna be long before the group runs out of time. Help comes from multiple sources, including museum archives, a college professor, the library, and even Henry’s dad. But will their combined efforts be enough or are they doomed to fiery failure?

Damaged Skull Writer gives The Twilight Pariah FIVE STARS, two thumbs up, and a tip of the hat to both Jeffrey Ford and Ellen Datlow for one hell of a great story that offers seamless reading with bumps in all the right places! I do wish the characters were not fictional, because I’d really enjoy hanging out with them! The other “character” I enjoyed was Maggie’s “ancient lime green Ford Galaxie.” It reminded me of my first car, a green 1967 Ford Fairlane which was a sister to the Galaxie. It wasn’t quite as sporty as Maggie’s ride, but I had plenty of adventures in that Fairlane! One more cool detail that makes The Twilight Pariah such a fun read. A highly recommended cure for the shut-in blues! I got my copy from www.BarnesandNoble.com so I didn’t even have to leave the house.

Thank you for reading a review from Damaged Skull Writer. For more information about Tor.com books, go to www.tor.com and be sure to sign up for their cool newsletter which is awesome! You can also dig them on Twitter@TorDotComPub For more info about Jeffrey Ford, check him out on Twitter@jeffreyford8 For more info about all the amazing things Ellen Datlow is doing, follow her on Twitter@EllenDatlow You can also follow me on Twitter@skullsnflames76 Wishing you all safety, wellness, and good reading!