From Publishers Weekly Starred Review. Zeltserman's superb mix of humor and horror focuses on Jack Durkin, the ninth generation of firstborn sons in his family who have daily weeded Lorne Field to purge it of Aukowies, bloodthirsty plants that could overrun the world in weeks if not attended to. Though Jack takes his job seriously, no one else does: his oldest son doesn't want to follow in his footsteps; his wife is tired of living poorly on his caretaker's salary; and the townspeople who subsidize him are increasingly skeptical of purported menaces that no one has ever seen because Jack diligently nips them in the bud. With his support dwindling, Jack finds himself driven to desperate measures to prove that he's truly saving the world. Zeltserman (Pariah) orchestrates events perfectly, making it impossible to tell if Jack is genuinely humankind's unsung hero or merely the latest descendant of a family of superstitious loonies. Readers will keep turning the pages to see how the ambiguous plot resolves. (July) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Booklist. This superbly crafted horror story explores the dichotomy between belief and rationality. Why has a small town maintained a contract since the eighteenth century with a member of the community and his heirs to pull weeds in Lorne Field? Jack Durkin, the current and ninth generation of Lorne Field caretakers, says the things he pulls from the ground aren't weeds; they are something called Aukowies, and if they're not pulled up by the roots and burned every day, the world will end. Under pressure from his wife to get a real job; from the town fathers (looking to save a few bucks and end the contract); and from his sons, who don't see themselves as career weed-pullers, Durkin is finally out of a job. No more weed pulling. So is he just a nut case, or does the novel segue into another Little Shop of Horrors? Sorry, we don't do spoilers. Horror fans will have to read this first-class cautionary tale themselves. --Elliott Swanson