"...artful story, artfully told." San Francisco Chronicle
"...a stark poem splashing deeper, terrible truths in your face in the guise of ordinary gestures and banal words." The San Francisco Bay Times
"Swanson's novel captures and makes believable a small but palpable victory in the painful but endlessly fascinating quest for self-understanding." New York Native
New York Times Book Review New and Notable Selection
"Underscored by a subtle sense of foreboding, this deceptively simple tale eventually explodes in a violent rush of emotion." Booklist
"The disturbing conclusion of Swanson's second novel will leave readers with food for thought." Library Journal
The Boy in the Lake
When his grandmother's death follows hard upon the suicide of a patient, Christian Fowler sets off for the bleak Ohio coal town where he grew up. Upon returning to the wintry landscape of his childhood, he confronts a series of past events that culminated in brutal tragedy. As he attempts to put his grandmother's affairs in order, Fowler soon becomes obsessed with finding the boy whom, years earlier, he'd unwittingly betrayed. This story from long ago develops with exquisite subtlety, and past and present ultimately collide when the two meet as men and come to grips with an event as stark and sudden as the heart of childhood itself. The degree of redemption the characters achieve does not come easily or completely, forcing readers to grapple with the nature of responsibility and the difficulty of forgiveness.
The Greenhouse Effect
It is August 1988, and oppressive heat holds the island of Manhattan in uneasy thrall. People move as if underwater, emotions are forced to the edge--and for the unnamed narrator of this novel, "It's not easy weather for pretending." The son of a small-town minister, he carries a secret, paralyzing legacy of fear and violence. As he lets himself be swept away on the undercurrents of the downtown world, in a whirl of trendy clubs and parties, he holds all emotions, except cool lust, at arm's length--until a female friend, driven by the same demons of rage and loss, reenters his life.