With his debut novel, Hell on Church Street, Jake Hinkson became known for combining religious fundamentalism with dark crime fiction. In his first story collection, The Deepening Shade, desperate characters grasp for moments of grace: A lesbian couple running a homeless shelter try to save a young woman controlled by a self-proclaimed prophet. A stripper commits a terrible crime to protect her sister from going to jail. A Pentecostal snake-handler avenges his daughter’s murder only to find himself tormented by his own unbelief. An alcoholic cop, drunk on duty, attempts to stop Dick Cheney from robbing a gas station.
In these stories and more, which range from the heartbreakingly tragic to the bizarrely funny, characters struggle violently with each other, and with themselves.
“Jake Hinkson is the kind of storyteller who picks the reader up by the ankles and shakes their heart out through their throat. The Deepening Shade is the best short story collection I’ve read in years.” —Benjamin Whitmer, author of Pike and Cry Father
“Collectively, these stories are a feat of black magic conjured by a master wordsmith and storyteller intimate with both the dark side and the resiliency of humanity.” —Eric Rickstad, author of Reap and The Silent Girls