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Night Letter

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A taut thriller set in Florida’s desolate panhandle, part coming-of-age story, all hard-boiled noir

Now available for preorder. All preorders will ship on or before January 3, 2023.

Preorder on Bookshop
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Forthcoming: 1/3/23

$28.95 $21.71

What people are saying…

“Sterling Watson is an American treasure.”
—Tom Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

“The novels of Sterling Watson are to be treasured and passed on to the next generation.”
—Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River

“Sterling Watson’s Night Letter is a revelation and one of the most engaging books I’ve read in a long time. Part voice-driven coming-of-age, part atmospheric noir, the writing itself is incisive and poetic, and the characters themselves are those rare literary creations—complicated and human and real. Imagine a thriller conceived by David Goodis and written by Carson McCullers. This book helps to redefine the boundaries of contemporary American fiction.”
—Joe Meno, author of Book of Extraordinary Tragedies

“In Night Letter, Sterling Watson delivers an evocative tale of a young man struggling to come of age in the wake of a troubled childhood. Using pitch-perfect language, Watson transports readers to a Florida of the past and immerses them in a nuanced era. From its first page, the novel simmers with a certainty that if Watson’s well-drawn protagonist is to find redemption, it will not come without a fight.”
—Lori Roy, author of Gone Too Long


Description

Now available for preorder. All preorders will ship on or before January 3, 2023.

Eighteen-year-old Travis Hollister is always the stranger who comes to town.

As a twelve-year-old escaping a disordered and unhappy home and parents who loved hard but couldn’t make it work, Travis left the Midwest to spend a summer with his grandparents in the Deep South. There he met Delia, the love of his life, who, tragically, was beyond his reach for two reasons—she was his aunt and she was sixteen years old. That summer made Travis guilty of crimes discovered and undiscovered. For his public wrongs, he did time, six years in a Nebraska reform school. For his undiscovered wrongs, he suffers mightily and wants desperately to be shriven. Can he achieve redemption or is he bound for the hell on earth he can imagine all too well?

Driven by his need to rejoin the human community, he becomes the stranger who arrives in Panama City, Florida, searching for Delia, the aunt who was the idol of his twelve-year-old passion. Who is she now? What have the years done to her? Will she welcome the return of Travis or fear it? What will she do about the return of the stranger she once held to her teenage heart.

Jean Paul Sartre said, “Hell is other people.” In the course of this story, Travis learns that other people can also be salvation. Amid a cast of characters struggling with their own needs, desires, tragedies, and, yes, crimes, Travis finds violence, hatred, vengeance, and, in greater measure, friendship, honor, loyalty, and at least a glimpse of the road to redemption.


Book Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Published: 1/3/23
  • IBSN: 9781636140636
  • e-IBSN: 9781636140643

Author

STERLING WATSON is the author of nine novels, including Sweet Dream Baby, Fighting in the Shade, Suitcase City, and The Committee. Watson’s short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Prairie Schooner, the Georgia Review, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, the Michigan Quarterly Review, and the Southern Review. He was director of the creative writing program at Eckerd College for twenty years and now teaches at Lasell University in Newton, Massachusetts. Of his sixth novel, Suitcase City, Tom Franklin said, “If this taut literary crime novel doesn’t center Sterling Watson on the map, we should change maps.” Watson lives in Gulfport, Florida. Night Letter is his latest work.

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