By David Oppegaard
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780312381110, 256pp.)
Publication Date: December 8, 2009
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Tyler and Anna Mayfield have just relocated from Nebraska to the sun scorched desert town of Wormwood, Nevada. They find themselves in a strange new landscape populated with old school cowboys, alien cultists, meth dealers, and doomsday prophets. Loneliness and desperation pervade Wormwood, and when a meteorite lands in the center of town, its fragile existence begins to unravel as many believe the end of the world is near, while others simply seek a reason to believe in anything at all.
DAVID OPPEGAARD was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Suicide Collectors was his first novel.
Within hours of their arrival in sun-blasted, hardscrabble Wormwood, Nevada, Tyler and Anna Mayfieldwatch a meteorite crash into the parking lot of the Taco Thunder Mexican restaurant. It's a dramatic introduction to their new hometown, and as the community bakes under a sun as fierce as "the angry eye of God," some of the natives begin to reveal themselves as deeply dotty. One mounts a chaise lounge next to the crater to await the End. Tyler is invited to join the Visitation Society, which plans to welcome wise aliens who will teach earthlings about peace and happiness and mediate their arrival with nervous Russian and Chinese militarists. And everyone tries to cope with loneliness and the need to believe in something.
For Oppegaard, less seems to be more. His style is matter-of-fact, even when Tyler has a one-sided conversation with an alien, and he only hints at the nature of the angst troubling the citizens of Wormwood. Even so, readers who take the genre-bending journey to Wormwood will be glad they did.
— Thomas Gaughan, Booklist