Alice Isn't Dead by Joseph FinkPublished by Harper Perennial on October 30, 2018
ARC from Publisher
From the New York Times bestselling co-author of It Devours! and Welcome to Night Vale comes a fast-paced thriller about a truck driver searching across America for the wife she had long assumed to be dead.
“This isn’t a story. It’s a road trip."
Keisha Taylor lived a quiet life with her wife, Alice, until the day that Alice disappeared. After months of searching, presuming she was dead, Keisha held a funeral, mourned, and gradually tried to get on with her life. But that was before Keisha started to see her wife, again and again, in the background of news reports from all over America. Alice isn’t dead, and she is showing up at every major tragedy and accident in the country.
Following a line of clues, Keisha takes a job with a trucking company, Bay and Creek Transportation, and begins searching for Alice. She eventually stumbles on an otherworldly conflict being waged in the quiet corners of our nation’s highway system—uncovering a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman.
Why did Alice disappear? What does she have to do with this secret war between inhuman killers? Why did the chicken cross the road? These questions, and many more will be answered in Alice Isn’t Dead.
“Keisha had made the decision that she wouldn’t be afraid no matter how afraid she got.”
Where do you even start with a book like this? Alice Isn’t Dead is incredible, inspiring, and easily one of the best books of 2018. And possibly my life. It’s like nothing you’ve ever read.
Alice Isn’t Dead is kind of about Alice, but it’s mostly about Keisha. Alice is Keisha’s wife, who presumably died months ago. Then, Keisha starts seeing her in the background of new coverage on every major tragedy in the US. Creepy, right? So Keisha takes a job as a truck driver that allows her to travel across the country in search of her supposedly dead wife. Along the way, she gets caught up in a dangerous scheme that threatens her life and the life of everyone she loves.
There are horrors lurking along the highway. These monsters hunt people in parking lots, in bars, in hidden nooks and under motel lights. But no matter how public, no one seems to notice. The ones who do, die next. The first monster you’re introduced to are the Thistle Men, grotesque with flappy skin and a bad smell. There is also the woman, their creator/leader. She has no name, but also many names. The last supernatural being in this book are the oracles, who are on the good guys’ side.
I really love what Joseph Fink did with these creatures – they’re a big plot twist that changes the entire book and makes you read it in a very different way. I can’t say as much as I want to because spoilers, but what you discover makes this book worth reading twice. It makes it worth reading once, in your life, but also twice just so you can read it again knowing what you know.
The last thing I’m going to say about the plot twist is that it’s what makes this novel really scary. In the beginning, it’s mostly a thriller, the Thistle Men are creepy and scary but it’s not exactly nightmare-inducing. And then things get real.
Other than that, I also love Keisha and Alice and Sylvia (a teen that Keisha meets on the road). Keisha’s journey to find her wife isn’t only about finding her wife, it’s about finding herself. Keisha has anxiety, something that Fink – and many other people, all of whom I hope read this book – also suffers from. She learns how to manage her anxiety, that it’s a part of her and not a monster hunting her. Her story is something that I really needed and I’m so thankful to Joseph Fink for writing it.
Alice Isn’t Dead changed my life. I mean. Goddamn. This book is a masterpiece. It gave me back my will to live. I fell in more in love with it with each page. You absolutely won’t regret taking the time to read it.