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Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.
Sal seems to appear out of nowhere - a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he's welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he's a runaway from a nearby farm town.
When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.
320 pages, Kindle Edition
First published July 26, 2016
"Up I go, up so high,~ from Tiffany McDaniel's The Summer That Melted Everything
I pray I do not fall and die.
But if I should, let it be said,
I'm mighty missed, now that I'm dead."
”How do you say this place?” he asked.
“I mean, the name of the town. How do you say it?”
“Oh, well, most folks think it’s pronounced like the past tense of breathin’. You know, like you just breathed somethin’ in. But it’s not like that at all. Say breath. and then ed. Breath-ed. Say it so the tongue don’t recognize such a large break between Breath and ed. Breathed.”
I wanted to hear the water go down the drains so I wouldn't have to hear myself doing the same.Miss McDaniel peppers baroque prose with such eyerollers: "something about his eyes made me think of Russia. Perhaps because they were so large, the largest country in the world of his face."
Mookie: Dago, wop, guinea, garlic-breath, pizza-slingin', spaghetti-bendin', Vic Damone, Perry Como, Luciano Pavarotti, Sole Mio, nonsingin' motherfucker.
Pino: You gold-teeth-gold-chain-wearin', fried-chicken-and-biscuit-eatin', monkey, ape, baboon, big thigh, fast-runnin', high-jumpin', spear-chuckin', 360-degree-basketball-dunkin' titsun spade Moulan Yan. Take your fuckin' pizza-pizza and go the fuck back to Africa.
Stevie: You little slanty-eyed, me-no-speaky-American, own-every-fruit-and-vegetable-stand-in-New-York, bullshit, Reverend Sun Myung Moon, Summer Olympics '88, Korean kick-boxing son of a bitch.
Officer Long: You Goya bean-eating, 15-in-a-car, 30-in-an-apartment, pointed shoes, red-wearing, Menudo, mire-mire Puerto Rican cocksucker. Yeah, you!
Sonny: It's cheap, I got a good price for you, Mayor Koch, "How I'm doing," chocolate-egg-cream-drinking, bagel-and-lox, B'nai B'rith Jew asshole.