This charming first novel maps the landscape and lives of a small town where ghosts and the living are sometimes indistinguishable from one another. That's what police officer Michael Mercer discovers the night he saves the life of a teenage boy left unconscious and at the mercy of the elements in a Colma, Calif., cemetery. Later, Michael witnesses nocturnal incidents that turn out to be the afterlife activities of local residents who've been dead for decades. The repetitive and unresolved activities of the dead slyly parallel Michael's aimless life and the lives of friends and colleagues similarly mired in day-to-day routine. Though the supernatural elements aren't as well integrated into the main action as they might be, Dorst strikes a perfect balance between humor and pathos. His ability to show the magic potential of everyday lives marks him as an author to watch.
Causes Doug Dorst Supports
The Nature Conservancy; The Milo Foundation; East Bay Community Law Center; Natural Resources Defense Council