Matthew McGevna, Kaylie Jones
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
"McGevna's debut novel captures the familiar rhythms of summertime, following young people on the edge of violence."
"A serious, searing debut novel by a wonderful new writer."
"The reader knows one of the three will be a victim, but not which one, and we read with our hearts in our throats as we grow closer to each boy....In the aftermath of that day, McGevna shows us how the brutality and tragedy of that event affect the families...There will be justice, of some sort, and even redemption. But, as in real life, there is no happy ending."
--Reviewing the Evidence
"A gripping exploration of teenage alienation and temporary depravity."
--East Hampton Star
"All it takes is one or two characters to carry you through to the heartbreaking end--a finale that offers enough hope and redemption to equal the book's climatic horror."
"Tremendously affecting....A powerful story about redemption....McGevna is tremendously talented, and created a vivid picture of place and time, populated by characters who are far more complex than you think."
--It's Either Sadness or Euphoria
"Perhaps we could all use a moment to stop and breathe sometime, before we say or do something we regret. You might find yourself thinking back to this book, long after it's done. And that is the mark of a good book."
--A New Day
"Here is Matthew McGevna's Little Beasts, a story about growing up in the 1980s and making one's way into the world. It's all here: discovered ambition; poignant exasperation; abundant mistakes and triumphs and regrets. And what turns out to be the bitter downward path to wisdom. Matthew McGevna has given us a great gift. Superb."
--Larry Heinemann, author of Paco's Story
"Little Beasts is a serious novel about lost teenagers with questionable futures and just about no adult guidance. Inevitably they take their confused and violent emotions out on each other, which leads to tragedy. A serious and compelling debut."
--Robert Ward, author of Red Baker
"Mathew McGevna's Little Beasts gives us the people of Turnbull, New York, as their own tragedy begins to envelop them. And in the sure hands of this gifted young novelist, we know them well enough to feel the history in our nerve-endings--we live it. This is a brave, beautiful book."
--Richard Bausch, author of Before, During, After
The latest from Akashic's Kaylie Jones Books imprint.
Turnbull is a working-class town full of weary people who struggle to make ends meet. Evictions, alcoholism, and random violence are commonplace. In the heat of July 1983, when eight-year-olds James Illworth, Dallas Darwin, and Felix Cassidy leave their homes to play in the woods, they have to navigate between the potentially violent world of angry adults and even angrier teens. Little do they know that within a few short hours, one of them will lay dead, after a bit of playful bullying from older teens escalates to tragedy.
Loosely based on a real crime that took place on Long Island in 1979, Little Beasts is a panorama of a poor, mostly white neighborhood surrounded by the affluent communities of the East End. After the murder, the novel's main characters must come to grips with the aftermath, face down the decisions they've made, and reestablish their faith in the possibility of a better world.
“That thing creeps me out. Like I’m drinking his ear wax.” “See, now I’m brokenhearted over things passed. A couple years ago you could hardly control your laughter when I poured you a drink.” David let the comment linger between them like a moment of silence for a dead friend. He looked at his shoes. Mr. Hopkins shrugged and David glanced up at him. “A fresh egg will sink in water, but a rotten one will float,” he said finally. At the front door, David thanked Mr. Hopkins for the money and
eyes will fill the afternoons every day after this one. The sheriff will yawn and watch men drain puddles in the roadway and assume it will be the day’s biggest task. But he will be wrong. And yet, the boys can’t see much further than the canopy of trees in the foreground that line up like soldiers at the creek’s jagged edge. The boys leap like semicolons across the murky stream. James, following the others, shorts the bank and his heels land with a mucky splash. He swings his arms to gather
end of a plank. When he looked through the trees he saw Mr. Darwin standing near his fence. He was wearing a thin pink robe with white trimming, presumably his wife’s. It was untied at the front. Underneath he wore boxer shorts with black socks and a soiled white T-shirt. He held a drink in his left hand, which he swirled around so the ice cubes clinked against the glass like dull wind chimes. To James it looked like iced tea. “It’s you,” Mr. Darwin said, resting both forearms atop his fence.
his back porch. Inside his house, his mother watched him from the kitchen window. His father was at work. Felix sent a rock over the treetops and watched it disappear. He picked up another one, and when his eyes fell upon the fort James had built, he twisted his body slightly and aimed for the structure. He hit a line drive and banked the rock off the side of the fort’s wall. Then he went back to hitting them in no particular direction. James had been watching him, but was gone now. When he saw
BARRY VISITED DAVID the night before his sentencing, to once again review the plea deal he’d reached with the DA. David sat in cold silence. Eight years minimum, and he’d be transferred after his eighteenth birthday to an upstate facility. He asked Barry if his parents had been told. Barry said he’d sent notice. “Did my father say if he’d come to the sentencing?” David asked. Barry took a deep breath. “The important thing for you to understand, David, is that you’ve been given a second chance