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I Disappeared Them


A serial killer’s desire to protect children fuels a parallel drive to murder other sadistic men in this immersive and literary psychological thriller

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$27.95 $20.96

What people are saying…

I Disappeared Them is a riveting exploration of human complexity, blending elements of mystery, psychological depth, and societal commentary into a compelling narrative . . . [The novel] eats away at you slowly, lingering in your mind long after you’ve turned the last page.”
Grimoire of Horror

“Preston L. Allen’s Hunter is an Everyman Dexter, a pizza-delivery guy, seething at times, sadly longing at others. A complexing hybrid of nature and nurture, defying analysis, governed by principled passion. He’ll crawl into your heart and chill you from the inside out. I love it.”
—Vicki Hendricks, author of Miami Purity

“What if you’re a good person—kind, sensitive, funny—but evil won’t let you be? I Disappeared Them is the story of a good man tormented, fervently wrestling right and wrong, life and murder. His battle against the demons of a secret mental chaos is a contest he can’t win, and yet we can’t help but enjoy the fight, every round, blood seeping out like love to its masterful end. What I mean is that Preston L. Allen kills so good, you’ve never seen such desperate beauty in the grisly, lovely, fleshy pages of murder that is as groundbreaking as it is gloriously literary.”
—Anjanette Delgado, author of The Heartbreak Pill

“Set in the urban landscape of South Florida, I Disappeared Them is a gripping novel about a serial killer who enacts his twisted sense of ethics and biblical justice on his victims. Preston L. Allen masterfully creates an obsessive character with a chillingly complex blend of darkness and humanity, even as the body count rises. With a captivating tone and often wry humor, the novel offers a portrait of a killer who loves his children that will linger in readers’ minds long after the last page.”
—Geoffrey Philp, author of Archipelagos

For Jesus Boy

“Heartfelt and occasionally hilarious, Jesus Boy is a tender masterpiece.”
—Dennis Lehane, author of Small Mercies

“Generations of illicit sex run through this clever and wide-ranging book in which the flesh always triumphs . . . Surely no one does church sexy like Allen . . . Allen’s writing by turns is solemn and funny . . . It would be easy for Jesus Boy to become fluffy satire but Allen keeps his characters real.”
New York Times Book Review

“What a joy to read a book you can truly call a contemporary classic.”
—Ken Bruen, author of The Guards

“Allen has created a consummate tragicomedy of African American family secrets and sorrows, and of faith under duress and wide open to interpretation. Perfect timing and crackling dialogue, as well as heartrending pain balanced by uproarious predicaments, make for a shout-hallelujah tale of transgression and grace, a gospel of lusty and everlasting love.”

“Ten More Titles to Read Now: Think African American Romeo and Juliet, as played out in a devout Christian community.”
O, The Oprah Magazine

For Every Boy Should Have a Man

“Allen . . . throws caution to the wind with his bizarre but exquisitely composed fable that uses transhumanism as the prism to reflect on the nature of humanity . . . Much like Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel Planet of the Apes, this novel is a sardonic parable on the nature and destiny of the species. A nimble fable whose bold narrative experiment is elevated by its near-biblical language and affectionate embrace of our inherent flaws.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Imaginative, versatile, and daring, Allen raids the realms of myth and fairy tales in this topsy-turvy speculative fable . . . With canny improvisations on ‘Jack and the Beanstalk,’ ‘The Epic of Gilgamesh,’ and Alice in Wonderland, Allen sharpens our perceptions of class divides, racism, enslavement, and abrupt and devastating climate change to create a delectably adventurous, wily, funny, and wise cautionary parable.”

Every Boy Should Have a Man is that rare novel that is derived from such a disparate scope of literary influences that it waxes entirely original.”
Chicago Tribune

For All or Nothing

“As with Frederick and Steven Barthelme’s disarming gambling memoir, Double Down, the chief virtue of All or Nothing is its facility in enlightening nonbelievers, showing how this addiction follows recognizable patterns of rush and crash, but with a twist—the buzz is in the process, not the result . . . As a cartographer of auto-degradation, Allen takes his place on a continuum that begins, perhaps, with Dostoyevsky’s Gambler, courses through Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano, William S. Burroughs’s Junky, the collected works of Charles Bukowski and Hubert Selby Jr., and persists in countless novels and (occasionally fabricated) memoirs of our puritanical, therapized present. Like Dostoyevsky, Allen colorfully evokes the gambling milieu—the chained (mis)fortunes of the players, their vanities and grotesqueries, their quasi-philosophical ruminations on chance. Like Burroughs, he is a dispassionate chronicler of the addict’s daily ritual, neither glorifying nor vilifying the matter at hand.”
New York Times Book Review

“Dark and insightful . . . The well-written novel takes the reader on a chaotic ride as . . . Allen reveals how addiction annihilates its victims and shows that winning isn’t always so different from losing.”
Publishers Weekly


BULLIED AS CHILD FOR BEING OVERWEIGHT and an orphan, the serial killer in I Disappeared Them hides in plain sight. By day, he is an affable family man with a disarming smile, surrounded by his children and loving wife. At night he punches the clock as a hard-working pizza man. After work, he roams Miami’s nighttime streets as the Periwinkle Killer, the sociopath passing judgment on the wicked according to a twisted moral code. He believes himself to be a defender of women and children. The Everglades is filling up with the corpses of his victims. He must be stopped, but there are no clues except the periwinkles he leaves at every crime scene.

I Disappeared Them is a brutal, boy meets girl love story that delves into the Periwinkle Killer’s childhood to confront the age-old question, is a serial killer designed or destined? Like Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho and Joyce Carol Oates’s Zombie, Preston L. Allen’s immersive narrative hauntingly occupies the peculiar psychological landscape of a murderer.

Book Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Published: 4/2/24
  • IBSN: 9781636141619
  • e-IBSN: 9781636141695


PRESTON L. ALLEN is the author of eight works of fiction, including Every Boy Should Have a Man, Jesus Boy, All or Nothing, and the award-winning collection Churchboys and Other Sinners. His stories have appeared in numerous magazines and journals and have been anthologized in Brown Sugar, Miami Noir, and Las Vegas Noir. The creator and host of Accents: A Poetry Jam, Preston L. Allen is an associate professor of English and creative writing at Miami Dade College. He was born in Honduras and lives in South Florida. I Disappeared Them is his latest novel.

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